The chief minister on Monday expressed surprise at the rampant smuggling of firearms into the jails at a meeting to review prison security.
Chief secretary Samar Ghosh, home secretary Basudeb Banerjee and senior jail department officials attended the meeting.
“The chief minister wanted to know how cellphones were reaching jail inmates despite high security at the jails,” said an official privy to the proceedings at the meeting.
According to him, the chief minister had called the meeting following reports that criminals like Gudda or Gabbar were making extortion calls to businessmen from jails and their henchmen outside were collecting the money.
When she asked at the meeting what the officials were doing to prevent cellphones from reaching jail inmates, the officials reeled off statistics on the recovery of phones from various prisons.
Mamata, however, expressed dismay on learning that around 350 cellphones and a similar number of SIM cards were seized from jails, primarily ones in the city, over the past three months.
“She asked how cellphones could reach the criminals and expressed her displeasure at the functioning of a section of jail staff and police officers. She said she was aware that some of the officers were involved in the smuggling of cellphones into the jails,” he said.
A jail department source said senior officers later held a meeting among themselves to draw up a “foolproof plan” to stop the entry of cellphones into jails. Orders have been issued to intensify the search on people entering jails. The officers also decided to install jammers at the jails.
“We will start the process at Alipore Central, Presidency and Dum Dum Central jails. The trial run on the installation of jammers will begin in the first week of August,” inspector-general (prisons) Ranveer Kumar told Metro.