When authorities found a tennis ball lying abandoned in the compound of a jail inside the high-security Tihar Prisons recently, they grew suspicious. A closer examination confirmed their doubts: cellphone parts were found hidden inside the ball.
Authorities said inmates of the jail have found an innovative and risk-free method to smuggle in cellphones, surgical blades and other contraband. All that their accomplices outside need to do is hide them in a tennis ball or a pair of socks and fling them across the compound wall from the busy Jail Road outside.
Over the past few months, the authorities of at least three jails close to the main compound wall of the Tihar Prisons have seized several such items.
Following this, the superintendents of these three jails have been ordered to install nets to ensure that the inmates are not able to retrieve the items. The process of putting the nets in place has begun in coordination with the PWD, sources in the jail said.
DIG (Prisons) Mukesh Prasad confirmed that the DG had ordered for a net to be placed at the three jails.
According to jail officials, the banned items were detected in the compound of jail numbers 1, 8 and 9. While jail number 1 has the Tihar staff quarters and a primary school on one side, jail numbers 8 and 9 are adjacent to the busy Jail Road — separated by the compound wall. The areas where the banned items were found are those where inmates are allowed to move during routine intervals.
Officials said tennis balls were the most commonly used. “In few cases, we saw that Cosco tennis balls were cut into two halves and the charger, SIM card or blades were inserted. The ball was then stitched and thrown into the jail compound,” a source in the jail said.
“Smuggling these banned items through the gate is difficult, because there is multi-layer checking at the gates of each jail. The personnel from the Tamil Nadu Police who check every visitor are also transferred routinely. This is why the prisoners have found this simple but innovative way of smuggling banned items inside the prison,” the source said.
While most prisoners use cellphones to talk to their family and girlfriends, surgical blades are mostly used in fights in the jail. In the past, many officials and prisoners have been victims of a blade attack.