Thriving drug trade in jail

CAN YOU imagine that some undertrials at Lucknow district jail spend hefty sum just to delay proceedings in their cases pending in courts to ensure their longer stay behind the bars?

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 01:35 IST

CAN YOU imagine that some undertrials at Lucknow district jail spend hefty sum just to delay proceedings in their cases pending in courts to ensure their longer stay behind the bars?

Reason: This particular group of inmates are ‘authorised’ retailers of drugs like morphine inside the jail and they enjoy a significant sale of Rs 12-14 lakh per month in the trade. The sellers have to give cut money to jail officials from top to the lower rung and the money also goes to influential and dreaded gangsters staying in jail. These gangsters extort money assuring patronage to the sellers and play a key role whenever top authorities raise objections to the sale.

The magnitude of the trade can be gauged from the fact that one of the drug retailer inside the jail, Kamal Fantu, stabbed another undertrial at the court lock-up two years back. The victim was a robber and he had engaged in a tiff with Fantu’s associates asking for his share in the sale of drugs.

Similarly, some other jails in Uttar Pradesh too are promising markets for the drug mafia. Besides Lucknow, these jails included Ghaziabad and Barabanki,
The group of inmates managing their period of imprisonment longer exposed startling details about strong network of drug peddling involving some inmates, jail staff and drug dealers.

The jails have now become a big retail market for drugs, especially smack. And, Lucknow jail is the biggest retail outlet currently.

After keeping a close watch on the activities of some inmates engaged in selling drugs inside the jail it has been revealed that major consumption of smack goes to barrack no-7. This is the barrack where all undertrials, who are drug addicts, are kept. The barrack is divided into two sections, A and B. About 70 to 75 inmates stay in each of the sections at a time.

Besides this barrack, demand also comes from barrack no 2, 3 and 5.

There are five groups of retailers inside the jail who sell smack to undertrials.

These groups get the consignment from different drug peddlers in the city and Barabanki.

How do these undertrial-cum-drug retailers run their trade?

Whenever they need supply of drugs these inmates manage to arrange hearing of their cases in the court at their will. For the purpose, each of them have to spend merely Rs 500 to a sepoy in the jail who makes list of the undertrials going for the court hearing.

No sooner they reach the court than they call on their contacts in drug mandis at Qaiserbagh, Sujanpura in Alambagh, Chinhat, Wazirganj and Sadar, Cantonment.

A few of the jail retailers even call up their dealers in Barabanki if they required bigger consignment of drugs.

While returning to the jail the drug consignments pass through the gate without a proper checking, thanks to the monthly cut money distributed in the jail.

Here in jail, the retailers divide a pouch of smack purchased for Rs 80 into 5 to 10 small packs of doses. These small packs are sold for Rs 20 to Rs 40 as each requirement of the drug addict inmates.

Sources in the jail revealed that one of the drug retailers was lodged in the jail for six years. He got bail several times but did not deposit the money of the bail bond avoiding his release from the jail.

This undertrial wears designer clothes and shoes in the jail and enjoys lavish living behind the bars.

When enquired from a few of prison official about the trade flourishing inside the jail they not only feigned ignorance but also refused to give their comment on the issue.

First Published: Apr 15, 2006 01:35 IST