April 20, 2015 3:01:54 am
In the backdrop of incidences of security lapses in the Nagpur jail, the state’s prisons department has begun extensive security audits of the jails across Maharashtra. Besides, the local police have been instructed to submit a weekly report on security scenario of the jails in their jurisdiction.
In the first week of April, five inmates who were facing trial under stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act escaped from the Nagpur jail. In the next three days, several cellphones, some even with Internet access, were recovered from the jail.
Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar has said around 100 cellphones were recovered from jails across the state in the last one year.
Maharashtra has nine central prisons, 27 district prisons and 10 open jails, besides two women’s jails in Mumbai and Pune. There are over 35,000 inmates in the jails in the state. “The state’s prisons department, which is headquartered in Pune, has begun an extensive audit of jails across the state,” an official said Sunday.
A senior officer from the jail department said, “Some of the prisons in the state have been conducting security audit at regular intervals. But the Nagpur incident has raised serious questions about security in that jail. The state home department has instructed that these audits be carried out in all the jails in the state.”
The officer added, “In the recent past, the jail department has acquired several security equipment and the digitisation process is on. Security cameras, metal detectors, cellphone jammers, walkie-talkie sets have been given to jails. Currently, security audit of all important jails in the state has begun and a report will be submitted to the home ministry. The commissioners of police or superintendents have been asked to submit a report about the security arrangements at the jails in their jurisdiction.”
Borwankar said central prisons in the state had been given door frame metal detectors, adding that baggage scanners were also being installed.
In the last one-and-a-half years, there have been four incidences when cellphones were recovered from Pune’s Yerawada Central Prison. One incident incident was reported from the open jail, also located in Yerawada, too. In another incident, marijuana was seized when it was being taken inside the jail.
A senior officer from Yerawada jail said, “During an investigation by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), it has come to light that terrorists were planning strike at the jail inmates just outside the premises. We have been carrying out security audits since then at regular intervals. We have formed a dedicated team for this and a panel, which involves people from various agencies, conducts the audit. We are also carrying out fire safety audits.”
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