In a bid to check underworld activities inside the Arthur Road jail, the prison department will be installing 70 small jammers, to stop the use of mobile phones inside the jail. The installation is expected to be completed by January end.
There have been several incidents in the past when gangsters lodged inside Mumbai jails have procured mobile phones, to run illegal rackets from inside the jails. The state government has already approved of the purchase of 275 new mobile jammers for the prison department, which will be fitted in different jails.
Sources in the prison department said they recently asked experts to survey the area surrounding Arthur Road jail. After calculating the effective range of jammers, it was decided that 70 of them would be installed in the premises. Sources added that individual jammers will be installed in barracks occupied by some notorious underworld goons. The remaining will be installed on high towers and walls, to block the use of phones from inside.
At present, some of the existing jammers in Arthur Road jail don't work. The rest are insufficient to cover the entire jail premises.
Several methods have been used to detect and curb the use of mobile phones inside jail premises, including body checks, use of metal and hand detectors or mobile trackers, and human intelligence. But jammers have been found to be the most effective. Sources said there have been times when even the jail staff has either helped or looked the other way, when they have found notorious gangsters using phones. “A jammer effectively blocks the network, so it’s the best method,” said a prison official, requesting anonymity.
Sources said the department has been purchasing three kinds of jammers, with ranges of 833.43 square metres, 424.32 square metres and 218.24 square metres respectively. The Arthur Road jail is likely to acquire 70 from the third category.
Additional director general of police (prisons) Meeran Borwankar confirmed the jammers will be fitted by end of January next year.
Use of phones in jail
* October 2014: Four mobile phones were seized from inside Arthur Road jail during a surprise raid by jail officials. A case in this matter has been registered with the NM Joshi Marg police station and the Mumbai crime branch is conducting a parallel probe in the matter
* April 2014: Uday Pathak, the main accused in the 2011 Kurar quadruple murder case, was found running a gang using a mobile phone that was smuggled into 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, who had spoken to the shooter using a mobile phone that was smuggled into the jail
* May 2013: Gangsters Sachin Khambe and Sachin Shette, lodged in Nashik jail, made extortion calls to Vakola corporator and real estate developer Brian Miranda. Khambe, who earlier owed allegiance to Abu Salem, was allegedly involved in the 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 steel businessman at VP Road, from Arthur Road jail