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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

Mobile signal jammers don’t work on 3G, 4G in Punjab jails

Leave aside jammers that do not control the latest and fastest 4G network, but many are not even equipped to jam 3G, sources have told HT

punjab Updated: Sep 29, 2017 09:29 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
File photo of central jail Gurdaspur.
File photo of central jail Gurdaspur.(Representative Image)

When it comes to jamming signal of mobile phones illegally used by inmates, Punjab’s jails are still stuck in the times of 2G reception. So far this year, 600 mobile phones have been seized from inmates in the state’s prisons, but gangsters in particular continue to update their Facebook pages from behind bars, besides running their activities while enjoying the safety of being behind bars.

Leave aside jammers that do not control the latest and fastest 4G network, but many are not even equipped to jam 3G, sources have told HT. Only the Kapurthala jail and the Nabha Maximum Security Prison have 3G jammers.

Explaining the technicality, Sandeep Law, an engineer with leading mobile networks, said, “Jammers with capacity of up to 900 megahertz (MHz) can control only 2G networks. But the 2,100 MHz frequency used in 3G and 4G technology are more powerful, making these jammers obsolete. The upgrade is expensive.”

Sources in the police said that after the Nabha jailbreak in November last year, when a group of gangsters freed five of their mates and a Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF) terrorist, no upgrade in the jammers was made. This, when it has already come to light in the investigations that the group of gangsters who attacked the jail were in touch with their accomplices inside the jail via internet calling.

“In the absence of these jammers, all mobile and internal calling facilities are being enjoyed freely by criminals and many of them are even operating their gangs and other activities freely from inside the jails. With fast expansion of mobile networks, the availability of 4G SIM cards is very easy in the market,” admitted a prisons department official, refusing to be named.

Notably, prisons department officials have already admitted a number of times that it is “nearly impossible” to control the use of mobiles inside the jails as the prisoners manage to get these inside by using various illegal means, including bribing the guards.

Additional director general of police (ADGP), prisons, IPS Sahota, while acknowledging the problem, said, “We have sent a Rs 8-crore proposal to the Union ministry of home affairs to upgrade jammers to 4G network for central jails in Nabha, Patiala, Bathinda and Amritsar. We are hoping for a sanction soon.”

In the latest, on September 27, a smartphone was seized from Nabha jailbreak accused Sulakhan Singh, alias Babbar Sultan, who is in the Patiala jail since his rearrest.

In April this year, gangster Lawrence Bishnoi lodged in the Faridkot jail was shifted to Patiala after it was learnt that he made an extortion call to a businessman in Rajasthan over the phone.

First Published: Sep 28, 2017 20:12 IST

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