PARADIP: Two Bihar-based undertrial prisoners (UTPs), who had escaped from Kujang sub-jail on Monday, were caught by the Government Railway Police from Cuttack on Tuesday night.
The two - Balmidhar Sahani (29) and his accomplice Ajaya Kumar Prasad (30) - had escaped from the sub-jail by breaking open the iron grills and scaling the 20-ft boundary wall using a bamboo and rope with iron hook. The jail authorities came to know about the incident during the prisoners’ count on Monday evening, raising serious questions on the security system inside the jail.
Sources said the jail is surrounded by thick forest, which made it easier for the prisoners to escape in the cover of night. While the two have been handed over to Kujang Police, cash and mobile phones were seized from their possession.
They were arrested by Paradip Lock police on murder charges on November 1 last year. On Thursday, Jail Superintendent Laxmi Mukhi suspended two wardens - Santosh Moharana and Susant Behera - for negligence in duty resulting in the incident.
This is not for the first time that such incident in the jail has come to fore. In 2006, UTP Sribasta Moharana had managed to escape from the jail and is yet to be arrested. A sweeper of the jail was suspended then for helping the prisoner escape.
On various occasions, narcotics, arms and mobile phones have been seized from the inmates of the prison where several notorious gangsters have been lodged. In November last year, police had seized six mobile phones, 10 SIM cards, four mobile chargers, cigarette and bidi packets from the sub-jail during a raid.
According to sources, the inmates in connivance with some unscrupulous officials of the jail procure drugs, mobile phones and luxury items. They continue to have access to mobile phones smuggled into the prison through various channels and use those for hatching plans and operate their gangs from the prison itself. Despite this, the jail authorities have not installed jammers on the premises. There are just two close circuit cameras which are lying defunct.
While the sub-jail is overcrowded with convicted criminals from Paradip and Kujang, requests for renovation and expansion of the building have fallen on deaf ears. Against the capacity of 91, the jail currently has 121 inmates while two warden posts are lying vacant for a long time.
It has also come to light that the jail authorities are not screening the visitors before allowing them to meet the inmates. Even the visitors’ record book is not maintained for several days.
Following Monday’s incident, a special team of police officers headed by Deputy Inspector General of Prison, Sumita Sarkar had visited the jail on Wednesday to investigate. SP Sudha Singh also visited the jail and interacted with Superintendent.
Sub-Divisional Police Office, Kujang, Bhabani Shankar Mishra informed that the two UTPs were produced in court, which remanded them in judicial custody after rejecting their bail pleas. Further investigation into the case is on to find out the loopholes in the jail’s security system.