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Retrieved handsets up for sale

- Mobiles found in prison to go under hammer

Patna, Nov. 10: Beur Central Jail authorities have decided to auction mobile handsets seized from the prison.

On December 8, the prison administration would undertake the initiative, which they claim is the first of its kind in the country. More than 700 mobiles seized by the jail administration during several raids since last year would be put up for auction.

“The jail authorities have seized mobiles of various brands during several raids inside the prison since last year. When the figure crossed than 400, we thought of this idea and sent a proposal for auctioning the handsets to the home department,” Shivendra Priyadarshi, the superintendent of Beur Central Jail, told The Telegraph.

“The department gave us the green light, suggesting that we should appoint a magistrate to avoid any kind of legal hassles or questions. The Phulwarisharif circle officer has been appointed as the magistrate for the same. Advertisements about the auction would be published in newspapers next week,” he added.

Priyadarshi said the mobiles were not recovered from inmates but were found during search operations in the prison.

“Normally, an FIR is lodged against any prison inmate caught with a mobile at the local police station. The phone, thus, becomes an exhibit and is a part of the seizure list, which is forwarded to the police station. The phones, which would be auctioned, were recovered from various parts of the prison and were not found in the possession of any inmate. It is obvious that the inmates had hid them but then there is no proof to state that. Hence, they cannot be made exhibits. They were hidden either on trees or inside drains. With increase in such recoveries, the auction idea clicked,” the official said.

Priyadarshi said the buyer would get a certificate for the mobile he or she buys.

“Since we cannot give a cash memo for the same, a certificate would be issued to the buyer. It will mention the model number and IMEI number of the handset and the buyer’s name and address. The jail authorities would duly sign the certificate. This will act as a cash memo and proof of purchase so that the buyer does not face any kind of hassle. The certificate would prove that he is the legal owner of the handset. Mobiles are important devices now and the auction would cater to the needs of those who don’t have them till now. The base price would be kept very low. We expect a huge crowd, comprising second-hand mobile sellers and mobile repair technicians. All data stored on these phones has been erased and the phones have been properly formatted, making them as good as new. We think this is the first-of-its-kind initiative in the country. The entire auction would be fair and transparent,” Priyadarshi said.