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Hardcore criminals in Punjab will be tried on jail premises, says minister Radhawa

He said the modalities were being chalked out to make arrangements to set up special courts inside the jails, thus ensuring that undertrials do not get to project themselves as heroes.

punjab Updated: Apr 25, 2018 20:28 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Patiala
Punjab gangsters,patiala Central jail,Punjab news
Punjab jails and cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa during his surprise visit to the Central Jail in Patiala on Wednesday.(Bharat Bhushan /HT)

The Punjab prisons department has mooted a proposal to conduct the trials of hardcore criminals, especially gangsters, on the jail premises by setting up special courts, said state jails and cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa in Patiala on Wednesday.

Randhawa, who assumed charge on Tuesday, paid a surprise visit to the Patiala’s Central Jail as a part of his tour across the state’s prisons. The minister said reforming the jails in Punjab was the top priority of his agenda.

He said the modalities were being chalked out to make arrangements to set up special courts inside the jails, thus ensuring that undertrials do not get to project themselves as heroes.

“This will ensure that youth of Punjab do not go astray by such show-offs,” he said. He added that a special court room was being prepared within the jail premises for this purpose, and the video conferencing facility was already in place for the hearings of matters involving gangsters.

Randhawa said to stop misuse of mobile phones on jail premises, the department was in contact with the Centre for an upgrade of jammers from 3G to 4G. “We have written to the Union home ministry to speed up the clearance process. I will also meet Union home minister Rajnath Singh to resolve this issue at the earliest,” he said.

“Psychologists will also be hired for counselling in an attempt to transform jails into reform houses and tackle behavioural problems of prisoners,” he added.

“To address the issue of drug abuse by inmates and strengthen security arrangements inside jails, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sanctioned 420 posts of warders,” Randhawa said, adding that recruitment process of 267 warders was on, while 150 people were undergoing training in Patiala and 375 at the regional training centre in Kapurthala.

Cooperative dept to sell jail products

Randhawa, who also holds the charge of cooperation department, said an agreement will be inked with the cooperation and the social security department to ensure that goods made by inmates, such as rugs, envelops and file covers, were purchased by anganwadi centres and Markfed.

Grievance redressal

To get first-hand information, he interacted with inmates, had a meal with them, and resolved grievances of around 50 of them on the spot. Most convicts had been demanding their trials be shifted to the jails near their native places.

Meanwhile, he also announced the speedy redressal of pending parole cases and opening up of cooperative bank ATMs.

He said Rs 7 lakh will be allotted, from his discretionary quota, to purchase two roti-making machines for the jail and setting up of a Verka booth. He gave money to the jail officials to provide sweets to all 1,850 odd jail inmates on his birthday.

Inspector general of police (jails) RK Arora, senior superintendent of Patiala (jail) Rajan Kapoor and other officials also present during Randhawa’s visit.

First Published: Apr 25, 2018 20:09 IST