The incident of jailbreak by eight prisoners at Sonepat has once again brought the poor management of Haryana jails to the fore.
From allowing free movement to convicts outside the jail, involvement of prison staff in favouring criminals inside jails, providing cell phones, dry fruits in bulk etc, the role of prison officials has remained controversial.
Several FIRs had been registered against the jail staff, including jailors, deputy jailors and others, but so far, nobody has faced action.
There are 19 jails, including a central jail each at Ambala and Hisar, besides 14 district jails in the state.
State police officials admitted that prisons’ management had been marred due to rampant corruption and reported malpractices are plainly overlooked due to “political interference.”
Sources in the prisons department said, “Several officials posted in jails have strong political connections and thus evade criminal or departmental action.”
Incidentally, the jail department is with chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
Investigations by HT reveal that during a raid at Sonepat Jail on December 28, 2007, the then inspector general of prisons, MS Mann, had found five lifers missing from their cells.
The five were undergoing life imprisonment for murder, rape and heinous crimes.
While the jail register showed that the prisoners were inside the jail, the raiding party found the five entering the jail campus at 8 pm escorted by an unarmed warder.
An inquiry also alleged that the prisoners were being taken outside the jail without authorisation and permission of the competent authority since October 10, 2007.
It was revealed that the five prisoners allegedly visited their residences in Sonepat district in “connivance of the jail officials.”