CUTTACK: Even as recovery of banned items and weapons from cells of inmates across jails in the State has raised concern, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report on action taken by authorities on such incidents in Cuttack Circle Jail, Choudwar.
The Commission has directed ADGP, Prisons, Odisha to submit a report on action taken against the senior superintendent and other officials of the jail in connection with the big haul of narcotics, cash, jewellery, mobile phones, sharp weapons and other prohibited items from cells of under-trial prisoners and convicts on March 23, 2014.
The items could not have entered the jail and reached the prisoners without complicity of jail officials, the Commission held and directed the ADGP to submit the report within six weeks.
A petition was filed by rights activist Akhand in September, 2014 alleging that despite huge recovery of prohibited items time and again, no action has been taken against the jail authorities and officials without whose knowledge or assistance such gross illegalities could not happen.
The raid on the jail on March 23 was conducted by Commissionerate police following a tip-off by two businessmen who alleged that they have been receiving extortion calls by gangsters from the jail. Following subsequent raids in June, 2014, mobile phones, narcotics substances and cash of about `25,000 were recovered from the inmates. It is stated that about 10 kg ganja and four cartons of liquor were seized from the kitchen area of the prison.
Akhand submitted that ADGP Prison’s letter to the superintendent of the jail on July 8, 2014 had raised a serious issue of hiding of information on the recoveries by the latter. The seizure of cash, phones and other items were not being reported to the superiors in the Department nor the police.
In response to the Commission’s earlier order, the ADGP stated that cell phone jammers in the jail were going to be upgraded while other security systems like CCTV camera, video conferencing, baggage scanner, door frame metal detector, hand-held metal detectors, night vision binoculars and mobile detectors had been provisioned.