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Maharashtra government earmarks five-acre plot for new prison in Mumbai

The Bombay high court had in March directed the state government to finalise land for new jails in Mumbai within three months

mumbai Updated: Dec 02, 2017 12:52 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,custodial deaths,Mankhurd
There are six jail in the MMR.(FOR REPRESENTATION)

To give a breathing space to inmates, the state government has cleared decks to build a prison at Mankhurd.

In a meeting recently held by chief secretary Sumit Mullick, the revenue department has agreed to soon hand over a five-acre plot to the home department.

The Bombay high court had in March directed the state government to finalise land for new jails in Mumbai within three months.

Though the home department had demanded more than 20-acre from a 54-acre plot in Mankhurd, the revenue department agreed to kick start the process of handing over only five acres of the plot owing to the proposed car shed of the Metro-2 corridor. The home department was given three options on the same plot to choose from.

“A major part was being allotted to the car shed. Other parcels come under the no-development zone. The five-acre plot is reserved for correctional activities in the proposed development plan 2034. The reservation will allow seamless transfer of land,” said an official from the home department.

“The decision to hand over the land for jail has been taken. I think construction will begin once the transfer of ownership is completed and budgetary allocation approved,” Mullick told HT.

Currently, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) and the revenue department have locked horns over the ownership of the plot . The dispute is pending in the court.“The dispute will not hamper the transfer owing to the reservation. Once chief minister Devendra Fadnavis signs the proposal and a joint team of the departments inspects the land, an order will be issued for the transfer. The home department can simultaneously plan design, take over possession and make budgetary provision for the construction,” a revenue official said.

The proposal to build a new jail had taken off for more than two years. The prison manual mandates one jail for every district.

In addition, the overcrowding of Arthur Road jail is another reason for the push for a new jail in the suburbs. Arthur Road currently houses 2,600 inmates against its capacity of 804.

Meanwhile, the public works department has conveyed to the home department that two barracks at Arthur Road jail will be completed by in next four months.

‘Maha had 16 custodial deaths in 2016, highest in the country’

Maharashtra recorded 16 custodial deaths — the highest in the country — last year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. The state recorded 19 custodial deaths in 2015 and 21 in 2014, which was also the highest.

The state stood first in deaths of people (12) at the pre-remand stage, and second (4) in case of those who were in custody, preceded by Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh ( 6 each).

Last year, Maharashtra was followed by Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat (9 custodial deaths), Madhya Pradesh (5), Punjab (4) and Chhattisgarh (3). India recorded 60 such deaths.

According to the NCRB, the reasons for these deaths are suicide (8), physical assault by police (1), illness outside hospital (2), illness inside hospital (3), natural deaths (1) and escaping from police custody (1).

“The statistics reveal that four people died during police remand, while the rest deaths were owing to different reasons,” said MN Singh, former Mumbai police commissioner. “The statistics give a false impression that the police brutally use third degree. Strict actions are taken against policeman when it comes to custodial deaths like the recent case in Sangli.”

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is currently investigating the case of an alleged murder of 26-year-old Aniket Kothale, who was arrested under the suspicion of robbery. He was allegedly killed earlier this month in Sangli. Sub-inspector Yuvraj Kamte and four constables were suspended. Kothale, 26, and two others were arrested along with another person for robbing a bike-borne man of Rs2,000 at knifepoint.

In Maharashtra, magisterial enquiry was conducted in all 12 cases, of them three cases were registered against police personnel

First Published: Dec 02, 2017 12:52 IST