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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

No lesson learnt, modern jail yet to have phone jammers

Sanjeev Bhalla , AP   Kapurthala, November 19, 2013
First Published: 22:40 IST(19/11/2013) | Last Updated: 23:24 IST(19/11/2013)

Learning no lesson from the incidents in the past regarding the use of mobile phones by prisoners lodged in Modern Jail at Theh Kanjla near here, the prison authorities had failed to check the use of phones by inmates.

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As many as 20 cases had been registered so far this year for smuggling banned material inside the jail. “Mobile phones are being provided to prisoners by the staff deputed in the jail on payment and this is going right under the noses of higher prison authorities,” sources inside the jail revealed.

“Not only mobiles, but other luxury facilities are also being provided to influential prisoners by collecting hefty amount and such prisoners are treating prison like a guest house. In this nexus, police staff, people deputed at health centre and other caretaker facilities are involved and they have the privilege of entering the jail premises without any frisking and most of them also take their vehicles directly inside,” sources added.

The prison minister, Sarwan Singh Phillaur, had earlier assured to install machines and jammers to check the entry of banned substances inside jails, but the proposal had not moved beyond the announcement.

In the recent times, a history-sheeter lodged here had uploaded videos on his Facebook account after beating up a member of a rival gang in the prison. On his webpage, which had over 21,300 ‘likes’, he had posted several photographs clicked with his cell phone. The prisoner was later transferred to the Nabha jail after the matter was highlighted by the media.

“One of my friends was lodged inside the jail for drug peddling. She used to call me frequently from the prison using a cell phone. It means that she was provided with a phone and it cannot happen without the connivance of the prison staff,” a local resident said.

Deputy jail superintendent (maintenance) and assistant superintendent of police Vikramjit Singh when contacted denied the charges. “There are no phone-jammers installed in the prison premises so far.

There have been incidents wherein mobile phones were recovered from prisons in the past, but the allegations that the prison staff is providing phones after collecting money are wrong. We had issued strict instructions to prison staff in this regard,” he said.

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