Based on an HT report (September 13) about a prisoner’s tipping off deputy superintendent of police (prisons) Vikramjeet Singh Panthe about a drug network being run in the Kapurthala jail, Punjab State Narcotics Control Bureau (PSNCB) has sought a report from the police in various districts about the inmates arrested on a charge of running this network from behind bars.
A September 14 (Monday) letter to the bureau’s assistant inspector generals (AIGs) in Bathinda, Amritsar Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala from the anti-drugs bureau’s office seeks on urgent basis particulars such as the names, addresses, and case histories of these inmates, besides the quantity of contraband seized from them. Top sources in the police department said the revelations were an eye-opener for the government and it now wanted to indentify the inmates and their outside accomplices.
In the recorded telephone conversation, the inmate claimed chitta (white drug powder) was being sold openly in the jail and consignments worth several lakh rupees had arrived when Panthe was under treatment in hospital. The informer said Telly, another inmate, had good relations with “Saab”, to whom `2-to-3 lakh was being paid for the selling of chitta in the jail. “The money also goes to higher officers in the jail,” the informer told Panthe.
In December 2013, police had caught two people, including a woman, on the charges of possessing 1-kilogram heroin worth `5 crore on the international market, and it was found, later, that an inmate, Shinder Pal, ran drug business from the Kapurthala jail through mobile phone. He reportedly told the police that most influential prisoners had an easy access to mobile phone, courtesy some jail security officials.
After the revelations became public, Kapurthala jail assistant superintendent Dilbag Singh seized 2-gram intoxicant powder from inmate Raman Kumar of Balmiki Mohalla near Basti Danishmanda in Jalandhar, and registered a case against him at the Kotwali police station in Kapurthala.
A Nokia handset and a Vodafone SIM (subscriber’s identity module) card were seized from another inmate, Bhagwan Singh “Bhana” of Dharamkot in Moga, who also was booked under the Prisons Act.