A group of politically connected men, who were behind bars after their alleged involvement in a daylight shootout in a bustling market here in February, were apparently having a gala time in jail before their acquittal in the main case led to their release earlier this week.
Clicking pictures with phones and cameras that are legally not allowed inside the jail, the men, purportedly associated with the Youth Akali Dal (YAD), got privileges not permitted.
The photos, said to be from the Nabha jail, are exclusively with Hindustan Times through a source.
In several of these, the accused are seen posing in groups, many of these showing them having food. In one, a relative of an accused can be seen posing with the group inside the barracks.
It was after a February 27 clash between two YAD factions, which left six persons injured, that 34 persons were arrested from both sides.
While the group led by Kaka Grewal was in Nabha jail, those from a group led by Kulwinder Singh Kinda were in Ludhiana jail.
Cross-cases had been registered under sections 307 for attempt to murder and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code. While this main case fell through as the groups turned hostile after an apparent compromise, the case under the Arms Act remains.
But the photographs of their stay in jail show how rules were broken while they were in custody.
Reportedly an outcome of old rivalry, the clash saw the men fire gunshots at each other, chase each other while brandishing swords; and they even entered some houses, including that of senior Akali leader and for mer Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Jagdev Singh Talwandi.
Two cars that were used by the accused were seized from the spot while other vehicles were seized later. The impounded Toyota Etios and Hyundai Accent sedans had dozens of bullet piercings. Area residents said at least 170 bullets were fired.
SP Khanna, jail superintendent of the Ludhiana central jail, said the pictures were not of his jail premises.
“Some of the accused were lodged in Ludhiana jail while the others were at Nabha jail,” he underlined. But Joga Singh, superintendent of the Nabha jail, also claimed that the pictures were not clicked at his jail.