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Axe hovers on Munna jail six

At least six officials of Shaheed Khudiram Bose Central Jail in Muzaffarpur will face action for their alleged lapses that resulted into extortion calls of Rs 2 crore made to a private engineering college director from the prison on October 26.

Sources said Muzaffarpur district magistrate Santosh Kumar Mall had sought an explanation from jailor Samuel Mitra within 24 hours and recommended action against five wardens for negligence in duty. The action against the jailor would be initiated after receiving the reply, they said. However, the recommendation report was sent to inspector-general (prisons) Anand Kishore on Tuesday. Mall recommended action on the basis of a detailed report submitted by acting jail superintendent Ajay Kumar, who prima facie found gross negligence on the part of the jail officials.

Mall’s report comes after the seizure of a cellphone handset, mobile charger and an earphone during a surprise raid at a prisoners’ ward on October 28. The cellphone, however, didn’t have any SIM card, sources in the prison department said.

The wards were searched after Mall received a complaint from the college director alleging that Rs 2 crore had been demanded from him for organising the November 4 Adhikar Rally at Gandhi Maidan. The caller had, however, requested Mall not to disclose his identity as he apprehended threat to his life and his family. Subsequently, an FIR was lodged with Mithanpura police station against four prisoners, including former MLA and JD(U) leader Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla, who is serving sentence in connection with the death of former Bihar minister Brij Behari Prasad.

IG (prisons) Kishore confirmed that recommendations for action against some officials of Muzaffarpur central jail had been sent to the prison department. “I am yet to go through the report. Action will certainly be initiated against the erring officials,” he added.

The sources said at least two jail superintendents and four jailors have been suspended for dereliction of duty in the past six months. Vishwanath Prasad, superintendent of Muzaffarpur jail and Umesh Kumar of Sitamarhi jail faced action for their close proximity to some prisoners.