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Jail auction draws kudos

Patna, Dec. 22: Karnataka is eager to implement the Bihar model of auctioning articles found in jails and use the amount for prisoners’ welfare.

Earlier this month, around 650 sophisticated mobile sets seized from the relatives of prisoners lodged in the high-security Beur Central Jail in Patna or found abandoned in their wards were auctioned. Now, states like Karnataka want to implement the model.

Sources in the Bihar prisons department said Raghvendra H. Auradker, principal secretary, home department (Karnataka), has sought information from the Bihar government on the procedure of auctioning such seized articles.

Auradker’s letter, addressed to Bihar principal secretary (home) Amir Subhani, stated that the matter was discussed and examined at the government-level and appreciated by the participants. “Let us provide the details of the process adopted for auctioning the illegal banned items,” the letter said.

Inspector-general (prisons) Anand Kishore confirmed the receipt of the letter from the Karnataka government. “We have decided to share all the information with our counterparts in Karnataka,” he said, adding that instructions have been issued.

Beur Central Jail superintendent Shivendra Priya-darshi said he has received several phone calls from New Delhi and other states, seeking information about the auction of the seized phones. “We had sought permission from the government for the auction. As there were no claimants of the seized phones, there was no legal hurdle in auctioning them off,” he added.

Kishore said it was a matter of pride for the department officials that other states have shown interest in adopting the Beur model of auctioning seized articles from jail inmates. He said the new initiative of the state jail administration was also discussed at the meeting of inspectors-general (jails) of various states in New Delhi a few months ago.

“Some representatives of jail departments of other states praised the Bihar government’s innovative steps towards prison reforms. The concept of an open jail in Buxar to allow convicted prisoners to stay with their families received acclaim at the Asian Pacific Correction Administrative Conference held in Brunei in October,” he said.

“The auction of 711 seized phones in Beur, which was done for the first time in the country, fetched Rs 1.67 lakh to the prison department. Altogether 641 mobiles were sold for Rs 1.67 lakh. The money would be spent on the welfare of the jail inmates,” Kishore said.

“We have requested the government to allow the department to open a separate bank account in which funds meant for the prisoners’ welfare could be deposited,” he added.