| A luggage scanner at Bhubaneswar railway station. Telegraph picture |
Bhubaneswar, May 31: Jharpada jail authorities are set to install a luggage scanner at the prison gate to check smuggling of mobile phones, SIM cards and other items into the wards.
In the past, inmates have been found using mobile phones to communicate with people outside. The trend continues despite a jammer being installed in the jail. The jammer, said sources, is unable to block calls from certain networks.
Jail authorities suspect that mobile phones and SIM cards are handed over to the inmates by family members, relatives and friends when they come to meet them. Then these gadgets find their way into the cells.
“We carry out manual searches when these people come to meet the inmates. But it seems they manage to avoid our scrutiny and pass items on to the inmates,” said Jharpada jail superintendent Prakash Sahu.
“Already three such luggage scanners have been purchased for three jails in the state. Besides Jharpada jail in Bhubaneswar, Choudwar jail and Rourkela jail will also have such scanners,” said inspector general (IG) prisons Pranabindu Acharya.
Prison official sources said these scanners, each of which cost around Rs 15 lakh, had already been purchased and would be installed within a month. “We will carry on with our manual searches, but the machines will make our job easier and the detection system efficient,” said the superintendent of Jharpada jail.
Jharpada jail in the Laxmi Sagar area houses 540 to 560 prisoners on an average.
Criminals such as Raja Acharya, Haider and Bikram Mallick are currently lodged here.
In November 2009, police had raided the jail after receiving complaints that gangster Raja Acharya had been making threat calls from the jail using mobile phones and found six mobiles and several SIM cards from the cells inside the jail. This incident prompted the authorities to install the jammers to prevent the prisoners from making illegal phone calls.
On August 21 last year, the jail staff had seized a mobile phone from the cell of Akshaya Behera, alias Chagala, the henchman for gangster Raja Acharya. Chagala was then serving a life term with Acharya after being convicted for killing well-known judo coach Biranchi Das on April 13, 2008.
On March 28 last year, a suspended police constable was arrested for extorting money from a businessman in Kedargouri in the name of a dreaded gangster lodged in Jharpada jail.
The constable had told the police that the gangster, Sk Hyder, had called the trader on his mobile phone from the jail.