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Getting sedatives and drugs in Bengal jails is child’s play

kolkata Updated: Nov 15, 2014 12:38 IST
Ravik Bhattacharya
Ravik Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
West Bengal

Obtaining sedatives in Bengal jails is child's play, jail insiders told HT on Friday even as the city kept wondering how a high profile prisoner lodged in a high-security cell in a central jail could procure a large number of sedatives to attempt suicide in a cell guarded by two sentries round the clock.

Ghosh was lodged in a specially guarded cell in Presidency central jail under the cell- block known as 'Poila Baish' (number 1 to 22). His neighbours included top Maoist leaders, terror accused and gangsters.

"Getting your hand on sedatives is easy at a place from where android phones, alcohol and heroin are freely available for a price. This is despite how highly guarded one cell is," said a source inside Presidency central jail.

His cell was raided by jail authorities on Thursday evening and thoroughly searched, which further infuriated him. The jail officers, however, could not find anything to raise suspicion. Hours later, Ghosh had a large number of sleeping pills and lay on the floor alerting the sentries.

Ghosh, according to sources, was used to medications for different ailments he suffered including sleeplessness. In fact, according to insiders, he was seen not being able to sleep at night for the past two days. Insiders, some of whom talked with him, said he was visibly frustrated.

Some of the sleeping pills he had were prescribed and given by a jail doctor who regularly monitored him, but the bulk, sources said, he got from'other sources' available behind bars.

Jail authorities posted two sentries near the gate of his cell since Monday, when he declared that within three days he would commit suicide if 'the real culprits' were not arrested. The jail doctor too made rounds of his cell. 

"Despite all the heightened security he was able to get his hands on the sleeping pills easily. There is a system inside the jail which allows an inmate to get what he wants," said a jail officer.

Sedatives and psychotropic drugs are among the items in high demand and freely available behind bars. Many inmates are addicted to them. A strip of such pills is available for Rs 50 to Rs 100 extra behind bars.

From writers (inmates who work in the jail office), to wardens and common inmates get these medicines from outside or sometimes they are channeled from jail hospital itself. These are sold to inmates who use these regularly.

A network of prisoners and guards operate in all central jails including Presidency, which makes it easy for inmates to get their hands on high-end cell phones to heroine. Even high security inmates use android phones from behind bars, connecting even internationally, even to online chat using Skype, V-chat, Viber, Tango and other applications. Whatsapp and Facebook are also common.

Android phones are easily obtained at Rs 1500 extra and SIM cards are available at Rs 150 to Rs 200. One can also get their hands on specially cooked food, alcohol, narcotics of one's choice at a marginal premium rate.

Roaring business of such items goes on behind bars and inmates just contact a group and the 'goods' are delivered at the cell or at the ward.