Heady cocktail in jail of dons - Week after doc murder, raid yields drugs and juices in Gopalganj prison

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By RAKESH K. SINGH
  • Published 7.06.11
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Gopalganj, June 6: Marijuana and hashish with dollops of fruit juice and boiled milk — inmates at the Gopalganj jail are having a good time.

Just over a week ago, jail doctor Budhdeo Singh was mercilessly beaten to death within the prison precincts by a bunch of inmates serving life term in a kidnapping case, the hue and cry forcing the government to recommend a CBI probe.

A surprise raid on the prison today by district magistrate Pankaj Kumar and superintendent of police K.S. Anupam exposed the rot that has set in. The team unearthed charas (hashish), marijuana, fruit juice, juicers, mobile phones, chargers, knives, utensils and charcoal ovens from the cells, suggesting that the hardened criminals were living a better life than many free citizens outside.

They were living in luxury away from the prying eyes of the closed-circuit TV cameras installed in the jail, which were as non-functional today as they were on the day of the doctor’s murder.

“Besides scrutinising the seized contraband and other objectionable items, we will closely monitor the CCTV cameras to find out when they became non-functional,” said Kumar, who took over as district magistrate from Pankaj Kumar Pal, who was transferred two days after the murder.

“We found the scenario in the prison really shocking. How can the inmates have their own kitchen, ovens and utensils to prepare food of their choice? Knives, charas, ganja, juicers, a variety of juices, milk, mobile phones… they had it all,” said Anupam.

The police superintendent has already voiced her suspicion on the role of jailor Krishna Singh and prison superintendent Ashok Singh in connection with the murder. Both officials have been suspended.

Today’s raid, which began at 4.30am and lasted four hours, has given credence to her suspicion. “The doctor’s murder could be the outcome of a well-oiled conspiracy involving the prison officials and some notorious criminals in the jail,” said another official of the raid team.

The district magistrate said vigil would be tightened. “We will closely monitor the inmates and their activities. We will keep raiding the prison frequently till we are satisfied that the prisoners are living in accordance with the jail manual and the prison administration is dealing with them in the manner appropriate to the law,” Kumar said.

Budhdeo Singh was beaten to death on May 29 allegedly because he had refused to issue medical certificates declaring some of the inmates led by Ranjan Yadav sick that would have stalled their transfer to the high-security central prison in Buxar. The police have named seven inmates in the FIR.

The Gopalganj jail houses the likes of Satish Paney, Dhananjay Tiwary and Anil Choudhary — dreaded dons who face numerous cases of murder, road hold-up and abduction.

The jail mirrors the culture of violence and violent politics associated with Gopalganj, incidentally the home of former chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi.

The town on the Bihar-Uttar Pradesh border is infamous for having witnessed two district magistrates murdered. M.P.N. Sharma was shot dead in the Gopalganj court in the eighties. G. Krishnaiyyah was stoned to death by a mob on his way from Muzaffarpur to Gopalganj in the early 1990s. The then MLA, Nagina Rai, was among several politicians gunned down in the last three decades in the gang wars that go on unabated here.