CHANDIGARH: Jails in Punjab are already notorious for dubious and illegal activities, with criminal running a business of supplying everything from drugs and liquor to weapons and mobile phones, in connivance with corrupt jail officials.
Now, with a cornered state government ordering a crackdown on drug mafia, officials expressed concern that jails will now be overcrowded and such nefarious activities will become even more rampant now.
A senior jail department official said, “We can at best accommodate around 1,500 more prisoners and not beyond that as the jail are already overcrowded.”
Despite the state prison department’s claims, all kinds of drugs, including heroin, smack, opium, injections and tablets are being openly smuggled into the jails. As per the department’s reports, more than 80 per cent prisoners in the state have become addicted to drugs. In many jails, more than 50 per cent are behind bars in cases under NDPS Act. “Many youths who were jailed in other cases have now become addicts,” said an officer.
These prisoners dodge the CCTV cameras and carry out their activities brazenly. Various inquires into different incidents have exposed how criminals, in cahoots jail staff, live a luxurious life, regularly talk to their family members and friends on mobiles and take drugs.
Last year alone, the jail authorities had seized more than 1,543 mobile phones from all the 26 jails in the state and nine officials were suspended.
The Punjab Police in 2016 stated in an injury report that in Ferozepur jail, 19 inmates addicted to drugs were getting regular supply from another group of inmates and deposited money in the bank accounts of the relatives of the inmates who use to smuggle in drugs.