Former Punjab director general of police (DGP, prisons) Shashi Kant revealed before the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday that as per his study, there was daily consumption of at least 10 kg of heroin and smack, estimated at Rs 50 crore in the international market, in various jails of Punjab as a result of "political interference" and connivance of jail officials.
He also said that in many cases, narcotics cases were planted to "fix" some political opponent or to ensure that the "big fish" went scot-free and only small drug peddlers were arrested by the police. The retired officer stated that prisons were "no less than dens of drug addicts, besides the ticking time bomb of AIDS on account of rampant pervert sexual practices therein."
Arguing himself before the court headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Kant submitted that as an officer of the intelligence wing, he had given a report setting out the reasons for the spread of the drug menace. On this, the court directed the state government to produce the report in a sealed cover on the next date of hearing, September 10. The court also directed all parties concerned to submit their replies to the submissions and suggestions made by Kant for curbing the drug menace.
Kant, who retired from service in June 2012, submitted that when he took over as DGP (prisons) in September 2011, 50-55% inmates were estimated to be taking drugs in jails. The court was informed, "not only drugs are smuggled in the jails with impunity but latest smart phones are available on which some of the prisoners keep on updating their status."
He also told the court about the ways through which drugs were smuggled into jails and the steps to curb such a menace. Kant added, "Accountability (of jail officials) is the most effective deterrence" to check the drug menace in jails. There is hardly any de-addiction facility worth its name in any of Punjab's jails and out of at least 13 de-addiction centres being operated by the Punjab AIDS Control Society in the state, not even one is being run properly, he said.
Shashi Kant's suggestions
Case hearing through video-conferencing from jails
Upgradation of jail security on Tihar jail model
No outside stuff should be permitted in jails
All jails should have X-ray machines and trained dogs
Jail staff needs to be rotated often as a rule
Prisons should have frequency-jamming devices
De-addiction centres need to be opened in jails
Practice to post "unwanted doctors" in jails should be stopped