In spite of a written warning from district and sessions judge SK Garg, central jail authorities continue to provide special facilities to certain inmates, who are allegedly favoured due to their political connections.
When Garg visited the prison on August 29, he saw a number of irregularities, which he mentioned in a report, a copy of which was obtained by HT under the Right to Information Act.
Garg sent this report to the registrar general, Punjab and Haryana high court, Punjab home secretary, Punjab inspector general of prisons, district magistrate, senior superintendent of police and superintendent of central jail, but to no avail.
Highly-placed sources, however, disclosed that correspondence between the judge and the higher authorities in this regard has continued.
In his report, Garg said he and chief judicial magistrate BS Ramana inspected the premises on August 29 at about 3.35pm. Deputy superintendent Satnam Singh and the jail doctor were present. They visited the barracks, kitchen and the jail hospital, where 10 patients were admitted.
During the hospital inspection, they visited other rooms of the building which was being used as the hospital, and found Jasdeep Singh, Amarbir Singh Narula, Amandeep Singh alias Sunny and Ram Simran Singh Makkar using two of the rooms.
These inmates are accused in the murder of Gurkerat Singh Gikki, son of Jalandhar-based hotelier Rajbir Singh. Gurkerat was allegedly shot dead by Ram, nephew of SAD former MLA from Adampur, Sarabjit Singh Makkar, and the other three accused on April 21, 2011.
According to the report, the four convicts are staying in two rooms. In the bigger room, there were four sets of bedding, each comprising pillow, mattresses, bed sheets and other sheets, and in the small room there were two bedding sets. These appeared to have been arranged by the inmates from their homes.
Besides the two rooms, these inmates were also using one verandah exclusively for themselves, and the three servants provided to them.
“When we entered the aforesaid rooms, convict Dhani Ram met us and said he and another convict Ashok had been deputed to cook food for the inmates, while convict Haria has been assigned to wash their clothes,” the report read.
Besides television sets and more than 10 fans, food items were also found in the rooms.
Garg states that two mobile phones with active SIM cards were found in the rooms, while the third was without SIM.
The inmates were also enjoying the facility of separate kitchen, the door of which was kept locked by the inmates.
Garg reported that in spite of their requests, the inmates did not give them the key to the kitchen, and after the lock was broken, they saw that the room had been converted into a full-fledged kitchen, which was cluttered with tools, besides a gas cylinder.
Garg found that the inmates had a separate bathroom, usually provided only to the patients admitted to the jail hospital. They were, however, not allowed to use this bathroom. A number of shampoos, napkins and other toiletries were also found there.
He also found that they had an exclusive water-cooler with RO system, and access to a gym.
The report states that the jail superintendent was directed to treat these inmates in the same way he was treating other inmates also accused of heinous crimes like murder, and not give any facility to these accused, to which they were not entitled as per the law.
Senior superintendent of police Sukhwant Singh Gill claimed he had immediately ordered registration of an FIR in connection with the recovery of mobile phones from the accused.
Jail superintendent Surinder Singh Saini told HT that no extra facility was being given to any of the jail inmates, and everything was being done as per the jail manual.
Jail population (morning count)
Total male 1,270
Total female 84
Gadgets, food items recovered
Television sets with cable connection 3
Mobile phones 3
· Pen drive, chargers, data cable to connect mobile with internet, DVD player, scissors, nail cutter, one carton of cigarettes
· One gunny bag full of noodles, bread, vegetables; boxes of branded milk, juice, mineral water bottles, cold drinks and energy
· Cans of protein powder, biscuits, wheat bran, dry fruit, pulses, spices, cornflakes; sports shoes, room fresheners, a box of egg trays
· Small refrigerator full of food, frozen chicken, packets of ready-to-eat meals
(source: DSJ Garg's report)