Prison ward at Thane hospital shut since 2014
The prison authorities, who have to deploy at least four personnel to guard a single inmate who is taken to the hospital, are unhappy with the move as they are stretched for resourcesUpdated: Feb 22, 2018 00:52 IST
The prison ward in Thane civil hospital has been shut for the past four years and converted into a gynaecology ward, forcing police to take unwell inmates from the Thane central jail to JJ Hospital in Mumbai in case of a medical emergency.
The prison authorities, who have to deploy at least four personnel to guard a single inmate who is taken to the hospital, are unhappy with the move as they are stretched for resources.
“The civil hospital is just a kilometre away from the jail. It was easy for the jail authorities to keep a watch. Also, the ward is a separate one-storey building,” said a senior prison official. “Taking inmates to Mumbai is also high risk, because it increases the chance of inmates trying to escape. If six prisoners are admitted to JJ Hospital, we have to deploy 24 policemen, which is also a manpower problem.”
The prison ward was closed in 2014, after Suresh Bijlani, who was arrested for the murder of Navi Mumbai builder Sunil Loharia, was living lavishly in the hospital under the pretext of being treated.
He was using a mobile phone, meeting his office associated and even using a luxury car to travel from the hospital to the court.
Lahoria’s son moved the Bombay high court, which then saw an inquiry being conducted and police officials and a doctor being suspended.
Later, a meeting was held by a five-member committee headed by a retired Bombay high court judge to plan modernisation of the prison in the state.
The committee, headed by retired justice Dr S Radhakrishnan, included additional director general of police (prisons) Dr Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay; retired DIG (prisons) SN Chavan; and professor Dr Vijay Raghavan of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Looking at the situation, the committee had ordered the civil hospital authorities to start the prison ward as soon as possible, said police sources.
The Thane central jail has more than 3,200 inmates, including women inmates.
On a monthly basis, more than 15 to 20 inmates are shifted to the civil hospital in Thane, JJ hospital in Mumbai and St. George hospital, mostly for dental treatment.
NB Vayachal, SP, Thane central jail, said, “The prison ward at Thane civil hospital was working till 2014, but is now closed. It will be a great help for our jail, if it opens soon as the burden and security risk of sending prisoners to JJ hospital will be negated.” Kemi Patil, civil surgeon based with Thane civil hospital, too, confirmed about the prison ward being closed down. “The prison ward was closed down after an inquiry conducted by authorities found inmates living lavishly.
We have turned the ward into gynaecology ward, where women patients of sexual assault and rape case are treated.
The civil hospital is going to be renovated, work for which is been going on. We have allotted space for a prison ward in the new hospital but it will take time.”
First Published: Feb 22, 2018 00:52 IST