The Yerawada police have lodged an FIR against seven undertrials for their role in smuggling four mobile phones into the high-security prison. The case was lodged on July 1 after an internal probe ordered by the additional director-general of prisons and correctional services, Amitabh Gupta, unearthed their role in the mobile phone smuggling racket. Already, 15 jail staffers have been transferred from Yerawada Central Prison as punishment for their alleged role in facilitating the crime while 25 other inmates have been transferred to various state prisons.
Those booked include: Praveen Sriniwas Mahajan, Mayur Raju Sapkal, Kumar Balbhim Lohar, Shyam Dattatreya Sarak, Rahul Hari Ghadai alias Koli, Rohan Anil Dedge and Omkar Ishwar Supekar. The complaint was lodged by jail officer Revnath Kanawade. The authorities had received a tip-off that the jail inmates were using mobile phones inside circle 1 and upon inquiry, Mahajan was found in possession of the phone. Mahajan spilled the beans upon further interrogation and the phones were seized on June 28. According to the jail authorities, this is the sixth such incident of confiscation of phones at the Yerawada Central Prison in the last three months. According to the Yerawada police, the FIR in the case was registered under provisions of the Prisons Act, 1894. Senior police inspector Balkrushna Kadam, in-charge of Yerawada police station, said, “Based on the complaint filed by a circle jail officer, the police have booked seven undertrials. The seized items include mobile phones, batteries and SIM cards.”
On June 23, the state jail department had replaced the old coin box system with a smart card-based phone calling facility for inmates to communicate with their relatives. Initiated as a pilot, the facility will be extended to all jails in Maharashtra based on the success rate. When contacted, ADG Gupta said, “Based on the finds of security lapses, action has been initiated against the jail staff and inmates for their involvement in bringing the phones inside the prison complex.”