A judicial probe was ordered on Monday into the mysterious death of a convicted prisoner lodged in Hajipur divisional jail.
Prisoner Ram Balak Rai (45), who was serving a life sentence for murdering his wife, Indu Devi, died under mysterious circumstances late on Sunday.
The jail inmates held a protest on Monday, alleging that Rai died for want of medical facilities in the prison and blamed the callous attitude of the jail authorities for the incident. The victim’s relatives, however, alleged that Rai, who hailed from Rajapkar in Vaishali district, was murdered. They blocked the Patna-Muzaffarpur road near Ramashish Chowk and paralysed traffic for over eight hours. The blockade was lifted after Vaishali district magistrate Jitendra Srivastava recommended a judicial probe into the incident.
The district magistrate asked civil surgeon Vibhesh Prasad Singh to conduct Rai’s post-mortem under the supervision of a medical team. “We have requested the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) to provide the name of a judicial officer, who could be assigned with the probe,” said a senior officer posted at the district magistrate’s office.
Sources in the prison department said Rai was lodged in the jail since January 17 this year. He was awarded a life term for murdering his wife a few years ago. He had appealed in the Patna High Court against the lower court judgment. His bail was cancelled after the high court rejected his appeal in January this year.
Rai’s younger brother, Ram Yad Rai, alleged that his brother had been murdered in judicial custody as part of a well-planned conspiracy. “He got elected as PACS (Primary Agriculture Co-operative Society) chairman last year. He had apprehended an attack on him in the jail,” he alleged.
No senior official of the divisional jail was available for comment. While jailer David was on medical leave, acting superintendent Abhirukh Trivedi could not be contacted. The district magistrate, however, confirmed that a judicial inquiry has been recommended into the convicted prisoner’s mysterious death.