Investigators probing the murderous attack on Kapurthala deputy superintendent of police DSP (jails) Vikramjeet Panthe have hinted towards connivance of an “insider” with jailed criminals who plotted the attack.
A probing officer said Panthe had applied for a half-day leave on June 27, the day he was attacked. In the noon, the officer went to his official residence, which is just one-km away from the jail barracks.
“The information pertaining to his half-day leave was passed on by an insider to those who planned the attack,” said the officer.
He said when Panthe and wife drove out of their residence around 6.30 pm, the alleged attackers were waiting for them on a motorbike near the main gate of the jail. The attackers tailed Panthe and fired three shots at him around 11 pm on Kapurthala road.
The attack has brought to the fore dubious activities of criminals lodged inside the Kapurthala jail. The situation has become alarming with these criminals plotting attack on the jail staff, supplying drugs to other inmates in connivance with some “corrupt prison officials”.
In the past six months, as many as 33 mobile phones and several SIM (subscriber’s identity module) cards have been recovered from prisoners. Drugs, including heroin and intoxicant powder, were also found.
On May 2, gangsters Amanveer Singh alias Lally, Harjot Singh Harry of Bussewal village in Kapurthala district, Dalbir Singh Dalbeera of Raj Nagar and Chirkut of Deep Nagar in Jalandhar had attacked assistant superintendent Sharif Muhammad and prisoner Harwinder Singh with iron rods, leaving them seriously injured.
On June 24, gangster Rinka and undertrial Rinku allegedly sodomised an inmate inside the barracks. A case was registered under Indian Penal Code sections 377 (carnal intercourse against the order of nature), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) against the accused at the Kotwali police station, Kapurthala.
On June 27, Rinka had attacked jail warder Madhusudan. When Panthe intervened, Rinka had threatened to deal with him outside the jail.
A senior police officer said due to huge staff shortage it was difficult to keep vigil on prisoners inside the overcrowded jail. He said the high-security jail had around 3,700 prisoners as against the capacity of 2,670. There were just 96 wardens and 26 head wardens against the required 190 wardens and 50 head wardens.
Jail minister Sohan Singh Thandal said to tackle overcrowding, four new jailas were coming up at Amritsar, Bathinda, Goindwal Sahib and Muktsar.
“Around 70% work is completed. We will also handle the problem of staff crunch soon,” he said. On recovery of mobiles, the minister said the jail staff was doing its best to keep an eye on the prisoners.