Gangsters are having a free run inside the Central Prison Bengaluru, says an inspection report of the Principal District and Sessions judge of Bengaluru Rural district.
According to the report, the inmates can make calls from mobile phones to people outside as electronic jammers are outdated since they can block only 2G signals, whereas the phones are on the latest 4G technology.
Pointing out that even though the Supreme Court, four decades ago, underlined the importance of having a Board of Visitors (BoV) for every prison, there is no functional BoV for the prison despite it being the largest in the State, the judge said in the report. He also pointed out that no meeting of BoV was convened even though he, on several occasions in the past three years, had insisted on it.
According to officials of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC), the disclosures were made in the report submitted by P. Krishna Bhat.
The report, dated October 5, was submitted after an inspection of the prison on September 26.
Mr. Bhat was Principal District and Sessions judge (Bengaluru Rural) till October 8, and is now judge of the Karnataka State Transport Appellate Tribunal.
The judge also pointed out that in 2017 he had made a detailed presentation, on the request of the KSHRC, on prison reforms and asked the Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) to meet him on the issue but the meeting never materialised.
Referring to the raid by the Central Crime Branch of the Bengaluru police on the prison on October 9, during which mobile phones, SIM cards and narcotics were recovered, KSHRC officials pointed out the raid was perhaps based on the judge’s report, which was also sent to several authorities of the State.
Pointing out that he had noticed that ‘supari’ killings and other organised crimes had their origin in the prison itself, as the inmates used mobile phones to speak to their henchmen outside, the judge noted that around 13 electronic jammers were outdated and no steps were taken to upgrade them.
Absence of BoV
“It is shocking and surprising that superior officers of the Prison Department are taking no interest in convening meeting of BoV. Such conduct in the face of the directions from the SC itself is inexplicable,” the report stated, while pointing out that prison reforms could not be undertaken sans BoV.
The report also said that there was no arrangement to provide any emergency medical assistance for prisoners during the night. No doctor was staying in the vicinity of the prison during the night though residential quarters were available for medical officers close by.
The report pointed out that the Chief Medical Officer of the prison indicated that three full-time doctors were inadequate to handle over 200 out-patients every day in the prison hospital.
It also pointed out that many patients were sitting or lying on the floor of the prison hospital, which is overloaded.
Kitchen is good
However, the report said that the kitchen was well equipped and maintained in a hygienic manner. Foodgrains stored were of reasonably good quality, and vegetables in the kitchen looked fresh and of good quality during the visit.