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Inmate claims branded, top jail official says ‘cooked up story’

Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa has ordered a probe into the case.

By: Express News Service | Ludhiana |
Updated: November 4, 2021 10:11:05 am
A prisoner has alleged that he was tortured inside Barnala Jail where he is currently lodged and objectionable words branded on his body with hot iron. (Representational image)

A prisoner, named in over a dozen FIRs and convicted in one where he has been awarded 20 years, Wednesday alleged that he was tortured inside Barnala Jail where he is currently lodged and objectionable words branded on his body with hot iron, following which Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa ordered a probe. Jail superintendent Balbir Singh, meanwhile, denied the allegations terming them as baseless

The convict, Karamjeet Singh (28), while being brought to the Mansa court for hearing in an NDPS case, alleged before mediapersons that he had been tortured inside the Barnala Jail on October 24.

“The jail superintendent is a retired Army man and he has his own rules. On October 24, a few prisoners and I objected to his autocratic behaviour following which we were beaten up. Later the superintendent even wrote ‘attwadi’ ( terrorist) on my back with hot iron. I have filed a written complaint,” he alleged.

Karamjeet’s lawyer, Balbir Kaur, added, “A complaint has been sent to chief judicial magistrate, Barnala”

As per the records, Karamjeet has 12-13 FIRs registered against him. In one of the cases, he was convicted and awarded 20 years in jail while investigations and trial is on in the rest of the cases.

Brushing aside the allegations as “cooked up stories”, Barnala Jail superintendent Balbir Singh said, “Kamaljeet has alleged that hot iron rod was used to write (attwadi) on his back. Is it possible to write so neatly with iron rod in a jail with 600 prisoners inside. It seems he got the word written on his back (by someone) with ink used to create tattoos.”

The jail superintendent further said that Karamjeet belongs to a group led by gangster Davinder Bambiha. “He has remained behind bars since 2015 and transferred to various jails over last six years. In Mansa, he had once tried to burn his clothes. He had created ruckus in Sangrur and Bathinda jails too. He had once escaped from Rajindra Medical College in Patiala where he was admitted on medical grounds and, another time, he had jumped parole,” said Balbir Singh.

The jail official said that Karamjeet wanted to have his way in Barnala jail and wanted to create groups within the prison. “When his activities were checked, he cooked up these stories and false and baseless allegations against me. I came to know about the allegations only when I got to know that he spoke something in Mansa,” said Balbir Singh, adding he will present his side before the court. “CCTV footage of jail can reveal whether we flouted any norms or not,” he added.

Taking note of Karamjeet’s allegations, meanwhile, Deputy CM Randhawa ordered a probe. Randhawa, who also holds the charge of the jails department, directed ADGP (Jails) P K Sinha to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the matter. He also asked him to get the medical examination of the prisoner done. Sinha said Ferozepur division DIG Tajinder Singh Maur has been appointed as the investigating officer in the case and he will visit the spot on Thursday to probe the matter.

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