A Patiala jail-like assault on officials of the modern jail in Kapurthala was averted following timely action by the authorities on an intelligence tip-off, highly placed sources in the jail told Hindustan Times.
The intelligence reports had indicated that a conspiracy was being hatched in the jail to attack officials. On the basis of the reports, an intensive search was conducted in the jail on December 21, which led to the recovery of three iron rods from three hardcore convicted criminals identified as Jasbir Singh alias Jassi, Surinder Singh alias Manga and Paramjit Singh alias Pamma.
After the recovery of the 'weapons', jail authorities had sent a report to the director general of police (prisons) on December 24 and, accordingly, the trio 'criminals' were shifted from Kapurthala jail on January 2, sources said.
All the shifted prisoners are co-accused of former Congress councilor of municipal corporation of Jalandhar Sukhmeet Singh alias Deputy, who is involved in a famous kidnapping case of 2008. Sukhmeet was also transferred from Kapurthala jail to Patiala on November 21.
While Jasbir Singh was shifted to Bathinda jail, Surinder Singh was transferred to Faridkot jail and Paramjit Singh was sent to Nabha jail.
Sources said as the additional jail superintendent Vikramjit Penthe had recently recovered mobile phones and drugs from the inmates, the trio criminals conspired to attack him (Penthe) during his routine visit to the barracks and, accordingly, arranged three iron rods from the scrap in the jail workshop.
One of the senior jail officials of Kapurthala jail, on the condition of anonymity, told HT that there were no appropriate security arrangements for the jail staff, in spite of the fact that their duty involved tackling dreaded criminals lodged in the jail.
During the last two months, as many as 45 FIRs have beee registered against the inmates after the recovery of mobile phones and narcotics from their possession, jail sources said.
The sources said there was also an acute shortage of staff and the extent of the shortage could be gauged from the fact there was only one constable to keep watch on 500 inmates. The officials are also not provided any vehicle.
In the modern jail of Kapurthala with a capacity of 2,800 inmates, as many as 4,100, including 1,000 convicts, are lodged and the limited staff find it difficult to keep constant watch on them, the sources said.
Meanwhile, when contacted, additional jail superintendent Penthe admitted to the recovery of iron rods from the three convicts after a search following intelligence inputs about the assault conspiracy and said that the three were shifted to different jails on the instruction of higher authorities.
He revealed that a survey to install mobile jammers in the jail has already been conducted and very soon it would be installed to curtail the menace of the use of mobile phones in the area.
Jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, when contacted, said, "It is true that jail officials are always on threat from hardcore criminals and, accordingly, steps are being taken to provide ample security to the jail staff."