In a significant boost to its security upgrade plan, the Maharashtra prisons department has been granted Rs 7.51 crore for the project. Various security equipment will be obtained in the next few months.
With incidents of firing and rackets operating from jails coming to light, security has been the top priority for the department, said sources. The latest approval from the state government will help the department procure multi-zone door frame metal detectors, hand-held metal detectors, mobile jammers, walkie-talkies and parts of CCTV. Sources said the equipment will prevent the smuggling of illegal items inside the prison.
“The need to upgrade security was felt after the firing on gangster Abu Salem at Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai in June 2013,” said a senior official from the department, requesting anonymity. “After the incident, modern equipment was obtained by the department. We have been requesting for funds for a long time. Recently, the government cleared our demand for Rs7.51 crore.”
The new equipment will be procured according to the government rules and will be sent to various prisons in the state, depending on the requirement. Sources said central prisons such as the Arthur Road jail, Yerwada jail in Pune, Thane central prison and Taloja jail among others will be given priority.
Several underworld gangs used phones to operate from inside. The jammers will help stop the functioning of the illegally-obtained mobile phones.
The equipment that will be obtained:
* Multi-zone door frame metal detectors: 7
* Hand-held metal detectors: 100
* Mobile jammers: 28
* Walkie-talkies: 120
* Various parts needed for upgrading CCTV cameras in jails
Criminals using phones from inside jails
* October 2014: Four mobile phones were seized from the Arthur road jail during a surprise raid by jail officials. A case has been registered with the NM Joshi Marg police station and the Mumbai crime branch is conducting a parallel probe
* April 2014: Uday Pathak, the main accused in the 2011-Kurar quadruple murders, was found running a gang using a mobile phone he had smuggled inside the Arthur Road jail
* June 2013: Gangster Abu Salem was shot at in Taloja jail. It was later found that the shooter Devendra Jagtap alias JD had accepted the contract from gangster Chhota Shakeel and the two spoke on mobile phone which was smuggled inside the jail
* May 2013: Gangsters Sachin Khambe and Sachin Shette, lodged in Nashik jail, had made extortion calls to Vakola corporator and real estate developer Brian Miranda. Khambe, who earlier owed allegiance to Abu Salem, was allegedly involved in firing at actor Rakesh Roshan in 2000. Shette was part of the Bunty Pandey gang
* 2011: Chhota Rajan aide DK Rao was arrested for making an extortion call to a businessman at VP Road, while he was in Arthur road jail