Seizure of mobile phones from jails puts prison authorities in a fix

  • Jatinder Mahal, Hindustan Times, Kapurthala
  • Updated: Jun 26, 2016 16:11 IST
Around 20 mobiles have been recovered by the authorities inside the jail this month. (HT File Photo)

With the seizure of mobile phones from inmates at the Kapurthala Modern Jail goes unabated, it has raised questions over the functioning of the prison administration.

Around 20 mobiles have been recovered by the authorities inside the jail this month. On Friday, cops recovered three more mobiles from the prisoners. Moreover, the inmates including gangsters and hardened criminals were found using mobiles with the alleged connivance of the jail staff.

According to an estimate, over 70% of the criminals using the phones are undergoing sentence under the NDPS Act. Sources said mobile phones are being used for threatening, chatting, uploading videos and photos on social networking sites.

Sources said smuggling of mobile phones inside the jail is being done in connivance with the jail staff as chances of visitors supplying these gadgets to the inmates are very less amid security in the prison.

On the other hand, officials alleged it is due to the shortage of staff and lack of modern equipment in the jail to check infiltration of such prohibited material in the jail.

Currently, the modern jail has nearly 185 security persons while there are about 3000 prisoners against the capacity of 2600, thus hampering the effective surveillance.

As per sources at Kotwali police station, the availability of mobiles is so easy that figures of mobile recovery have been on the rise since past few years. As per data, around 220 mobile phones were recovered by the police inside the jail in last three years.

Though the police did not recover any phone in 2012, the figures of the same have been on a rise since then as 48 mobiles were recovered in 2013, 70 in 2014 and 75 in 2015.

While about 35 mobiles have already been recovered in 2016 by the police, a number of mobile sim cards and chargers have also been recovered from the prisoners.

Sources in the jail said in many cases, the cops do not register such cases and they remain unreported, otherwise the figures could be higher than what is shown in the data.

In April,11 mobile phones, seven SIM cards and three mobile chargers along with silver foil papers used for consuming heroin were recovered by Kapurthala Police in a special operation at Modern Jail, Jalandhar.

As per Kapurthala police, even the recently arrested six notorious gang of Gurpreet Singh, alias Gopi by the Special Task Force (STF) was in touch with gangsters inside the jail and was running contract killings. Moreover, even after the continuous seizure of mobile phones from the jail, the state government has failed to install mobile hammers on jail premises, despite repeated demands by the jail authorities.

Kapurthala jail deputy superintendent of police (DSP) DS Bhatti said, “We are working on installing jammers in the jail while our staff keeps vigil on the activities of inmates.”

Meanwhile, during his recent visit, Sohan Singh Thandal, minister of state for jails claimed that to prevent illegal activity like the use of drugs and mobiles by inmates, the state government will also install CCTV cameras and mobile jammers.

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