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Cell phones,porn CDs seized from Alipore jails

Although cell phone jammers were put in place in Alipore Central Jail way back in 2006...

Written by Ravik Bhattacharya | Kolkata |
January 26, 2009 3:00:44 am

Six jammers were installed in 2006 at a cost Rs 20 lakh,but it was business as usual for inmates

Although cell phone jammers were put in place in Alipore Central Jail way back in 2006,authorities were surprised on Sunday when they recovered six cell phones and a DVD player during a three-hour raid inside at the jail premises,conducted jointly by prison officials and sleuths from the detective department of the Kolkata Police.

The high-security jail houses dreaded criminals like Aftab Ansari,the alleged mastermind of the attack on American Centre.

Interestingly,one of the cell phones started ringing during the raid despite jammers in place. State home secretary Ardhendu Sen said: “The raid was a part of our drive in the run-up to Republic Day. Such raids will continue in future.”

“We are investigating as to how so many cell phones and a DVD player were uncovered within the premises. The security arrangements are being thoroughly checked to develop a foolproof system,” said Additional Director-General (jails) B D Sharma.

The state government installed six sophisticated jammers in Alipore Central Jail on March 31,2006. The jammers were installed by Webel Electronics Communication System at a cost of around Rs 20 lakh each.

However,according to jail sources,the raid exposed that vast areas of the jail premises were still left uncovered by the jammers.

“The six jammers were placed atop only a few cells. Vast areas in the jail were not covered by it. Only cell number 1,2,13,and 14 are covered by the jammers. Only one criminal is lodged in each of these cells. The hundreds of other undertrials and convicts who are in the wards are free to use cell phones since those areas are not covered. There is a gaping hole in security,” said a senior officer who took part in the surprise raid conducted around 12.30 pm.

The raid went on for three hours during which the second floor of ward number 9,the ground and first floor of ward number 7 and the ground floor of ward number 8 were searched. All these wards house around 400-500 undertrials. Senior officials themselves rummaged through baggage of the inmates and even frisked them.

“During the search,six cell phones were found and three of them had SIM cards,” said Sharma. One of the cell phones was found while frisking of an inmate,Zakir Sheikh,whoi is an accused in the infamous Basanti murder case. Later,at the ground floor of ward number 8,a DVD player was found wrapped in a blanket. A number of pornographic DVDs were also seized.

“The cell phone seized from Zakir was live and rang five times after we seized it. The phone was on a silent mode. We are verifying the incoming and outgoing calls. The cell phones were used by these criminals for running extortion rings from inside the jail,” said an officer of the detective department.

The officers also seized one knife and a pair of scissors from the wards. Some cell phone chargers and a small quantity of ganja were also found.

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