Sneaking prohibited articles, including mobile phone sets and razor blades, inside Tihar jail by concealing them on person or within the body would soon become impossible.
The Tihar jail administration is considering buying and deploying full body scanners to screen inmates at the entrance of its 10 sub-jails and visitors' booths, jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta said.
"The full body scanners," Gupta told HT, "would help to prevent inmate/s from attempting to stealthily get inside banned articles — mobile phone sets, blades, and even tobacco — by hiding them on their body and inside body cavities."
Only a few countries — including US, Britain, France and Israel — currently manufacture the scanners. Each machine costs about Rs 80 lakh.
As part of a pilot project, a body scanner was recently set up at sub-jail number eight to screen inmates either arriving there or exiting to attend court hearings or visit hospital/s.
The results were "encouraging", said another source in the jail staff, who is not authorised to talk to the media.
The proposal to install the scanners was prompted by the alleged cases of a few inmates sneaking in tobacco and mobile phone sets by carrying them on their body, the source said.
A committee, set up by Delhi's Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna, to suggest ways to prevent any entry of banned objects inside the jail has also recommended installation of the scanners.
The committee also advocated restrictions on home food since that can be used to hide prohibited objects, said the source.
"It is easy to stuff prohibited things inside food. We have found tobacco hidden inside paneer (cottage cheese)," said a source.
"A few inmates have even tried to hide blades inside layers of plastic bags."
As of now, the jail only has X-ray machines across the sub-jails to screen personal belongings of inmates.
"We would need 10-11 full body scanners," said the source.
The proposal to install the scanners will have to be approved by the Delhi government.