An internal departmental high-level inquiry conducted by Yerawada Central Jail authorities has revealed that 15 jail staffers were allegedly involved in smuggling four mobile phones inside the high-security prison complex on Tuesday evening.
The incident has sent the security agencies into tizzy as it took place after the prison administration implemented smart phone card-based calling facility for the inmates a week ago to put an end to the cell phone smuggling.
Yerawada central prison houses 6,724 inmates as against the sanctioned capacity of 2,752.
The internal investigation has indicted 15 jail staffers for their role in smuggling phones after which their transfer to other prisons in the state has been recommended. Besides , 25 other jail inmates have been transferred to Amravati and Nashik jails for their role in phone smuggling. The jail administration is also awaiting judicial approval for another batch of 25 inmates which will be transferred out of Yerawada central jail to Nashik and Amravati prisons.
Additional Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services Amitabh Gupta told HT, “We have transferred 15 jail staffers to other jails of Maharashtra after their role in mobile smuggling into prisons has come to light. An inquiry was also instituted in this regard. We will be taking strict action against those involved in this act and legal action will be taken.”
On June 25, the internal security wing staffers of Yerawada jail had found four cellphones wherein the batteries were hidden into two tennis balls and cellphones were packaged into soft cotton sealed tightly with a tape near Madi Gate of the prison. On June 26, an FIR was lodged at Yerawada Police station under provisions of the Prisons Act, 1894.
A relative of a jail inmate said that the role of a section of jail staffers is suspected as they don the role of postmen when they go outside the prison and assume the role of deliverymen while getting inside the prison. Body scanners must be installed at the main gate to stop smuggling of cellphones and other articles inside the jail, he said.
Incidents in 2023
It is for the fifth time that mobile phones were found inside the prison area. On April 1 , a search conducted by three staffers inside prison led to the seizure of a cell phone which was found beneath the tin sheet wall of the bathroom of Barrack Number 3 of the Circle No 1 .
On April 20, during a security check, two cellphone devices were found inside a steel gate of one of the sections of Anda Cell.
On May 19, a mobile with a battery and SIM card was found in barrack number 1 of the circle number 1. On May 22 a cell phone battery was recovered from an undertrial prisoner.