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Cellphones seized in jail raid

Hazaribagh, Oct. 9: Three mobile handsets, five SIM cards, a transistor and a numbers of diaries containing contact numbers were recovered today during a surprise raid by the district and police administration at Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan Central Jail.

A team of 150 jawans led by deputy commissioner (DC) Manish Ranjan and superintendent of police (SP) Manoj Kaushik reached the jail at 5.30am and scanned the wards till 9 o’ clock. Sadar sub-divisional officer Rachna Bhagat was also part of the team.

To their dismay, the officials found that batteries from the 2G mobile jammer on the premises had been removed, raising a question mark on the authorities.

Ranjan told The Telegraph he had served show-cause notices to jail superintendent M. Hassan and jailer Chandrashekhar Prasad Suman asking for explanations within three days.

In case their replies were unsatisfactory, the DC said he would write to the state government to take action against the duo.

Sources said the team recovered two mobile phones— one from CPI(Maoist) leader Narayan Sanyal (82) and the other from former sub-zonal commander of the outfit Sunil Ganjhu — both of who are lodged at high-security wards. “The third mobile was found in the prison backyard. It was possibly thrown out by a prisoner after sensing the raid,” Kaushik added. The team also found love letters and some “sensitive documents”, which the officials refused to elaborate on.

Sources said officials had been receiving information about suspicious activities including use of cellphones inside the prison. The officials had made a secret plan three days ago to raid the jail, Ranjan admitted.

Kaushik said the cellphone numbers of all the jail employees would also be scanned to check if they had made any objectionable calls.

“The recovery of the personal diaries containing contact numbers shows that mobile phones were being freely used inside the jail. The jail officials had also not informed us about any technical snag in the jammer in advance, so the removal of batteries is intentional,” the SP reasoned.

The DC said that unlike raids carried out earlier in the jail, they would follow up today’s seizure with a thorough scan of SIM cards and phones.

He didn’t rule out the possibility of employees passing on objectionable articles to prisoners in violation of the jail manual.

Ranjan said that only one doctor, Narmadeshwar Singh, was posted in the jail, even as prisoners complained about lack of healthcare.

“I asked the jail authorities to maintain a complaint box for prisoners. I will depute a magistrate to check the complaints periodically,” he added.

In February, too, the DC and SP had led a raid in the jail and seized television sets and mobile phones. Besides, during a raid by then SP Praveen Singh in 2007, items right from expensive blankets to dry fruits, mobile phones, SIM cards and ganja were recovered.