Millennium Post

Devil’s dungeon

The under-trial was killed by his fellow inmates. It’s said that the victim used to supply drugs to the inmates and had disputes with the accused earlier as well.

The deceased, Deepak, 29, involved in multiple cases of robbery and dacoity had been kept in a high-security ward along with the four other under-trials. Following the routine process, the victim was shifted to the <g data-gr-id="133">aforementionedward</g> and was living there for the past three months. The four accused, who have been identified as Suraj (21), Satpal Bedi (37), Riyaz (23) and Manpreet (35) are all hardened criminals. Suraj has six cases registered against him for robbery and dacoity and was booked under appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Manpreet, another under-trial was booked for double murder, one inside the jail and the other outside the jail while Satpal Bedi, the fourth accused, has also been serving life imprisonment for double murder.

According to the police, the incident happened around 10 pm in ward number five of jail number eight. The victim was taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. The suspects attacked Deepak on the face with sharp objects like spoons and the metal part of a tap. According to <g data-gr-id="145">initial</g> investigation, sharp objects made from a window railing was used to attack the victim.

This is not the first murder to have taken place this year. In March, a Nigerian was reportedly found dead under mysterious circumstances in the same jail. The police had suspected it to be a case of drug overdose or poisoning. Two months later in May, two inmates, Ritesh Mittal (32) and Amit (26), were also found dead in jail number eight in a similar manner. It was said that the duo died after consuming drugs which were illegally smuggled into the jail. Another inmate, Prithvi (32), died in June in the same jail and no particular cause of death could be established. 

Last year in September, an inmate was found hanging in the toilet of jail number eight which was suspected to be a case of suicide. 

On the one hand the jail authorities claim that even a bird cannot fly inside Tihar without their permit but what is astonishing is the fact that in the recent past, the largest South Asia’s prison has gained a lot of negative publicity because of a jailbreak incident, reports of extortion rackets being run by inmates and frequent murder instances within the premises. “The carelessness of the authorities and the existence of corrupt officials result into incidents where <g data-gr-id="177">murder</g> of inmates take place inside the jail premises. On late Tuesday, a 29-year-old under-trail was brutally murdered by four other inmates in the <g data-gr-id="176">high security</g> zone prison allegedly for not supplying drugs. Now, the question is how are the drugs available inside the complex,” a senior police official close to the investigation said. The official did not wish to be named.  

Tihar Jail complex is the largest prison in South Asia, spread over about 400 acres and comprising nine jails, housing more than 14,250 inmates that <g data-gr-id="174">is</g> more than double its capacity of 6,250. About 650 prisoners are women, 500 are foreigners and some 75 per cent of all inmates are undergoing or awaiting trial.

What goes on inside the closed doors of the prison are beyond the understanding and comprehension of the common man. The jail premise has become a haven of corrupt practices, where criminals – be it convicted ones – are under-trials and get a golden opportunity to flourish themselves by continuing their illegal activities from within the jail premises or get a chance to associate themselves with the top honchos of the crime world who are lodged in the jail.

At times, the inmates are found selling drugs inside the jail. In many cases when these inmates are caught by senior officials, it is learnt that they are the sole <g data-gr-id="140">bread-earners</g> of their families which is why they sell drugs inside the premises to earn a livelihood, handing over the money to their near and dear ones who come to meet them in the jail. 

Now, the unanswered questions are how these inmates manage to bring drugs inside the jail, how are these addicts allowed to take drugs, from where do they manage to get money inside the prison and where and when do the dealings take place? When Millennium Post tried to contact the concerned officials in Tihar, they refused to comment.

Meanwhile, Lokesh (name changed), a 29-year-old former inmate of Tihar told Millennium Post: “A few corrupt officials are always ready to please hardline criminals or affluent inmates in exchange of money. As a result, anything that is officially banned is easily available – from sharp weapons and surgical blades to mobile phones and drugs.”  

He further added that porn magazines, <g data-gr-id="162">drugs</g> and mobile phones are the easiest things available inside the complex. Inmates, who are not <g data-gr-id="141">drug-addicts</g>, are forced to consume drugs who later become addicts. The debutants also indulge in other illegal activities and become slaves of such gang leaders who enjoy fierce hegemony and leadership. 

“Many a times, this drug factor becomes the cause of altercation between the inmates. Several times, these inmates have been caught red-handed and the culprits are shifted to <g data-gr-id="159">high security</g> wards. Later, these particular inmates are again found indulging actively in drug dealing,” a source added.
Though after every incident, jail authorities make tall claims of making the security further tamper-proof, at ground zero not much changes are witnessed. Delhi government had claimed <g data-gr-id="142">putting</g> radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking device on the ankles of Tihar inmates to prevent prisoners from escaping from jail and check the cases of violence inside the premises.

"I have asked jail authorities to study <g data-gr-id="257">feasibility</g> of using tracking security band on the ankle of prisoners. Through these bands we can check all the movements of inmates and can also fix their boundaries," Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain had said in June. Two months later there isn’t much movement on the matter.

In last June two prisoners dug a 10-foot tunnel under a wall in the dead of night to escape.One of them, 19-year-old Faizan, was caught as he got stuck in a sewer line that was part of their obstacle course to freedom. His 18-year-old companion Javed, known as an expert at digging through walls, managed to run away. Both Faizan and Javed were in jail for burglary.

The two men scaled two 13-foot walls and managed to dig a tunnel under a 16-foot high, two feet thick wall. Then they entered a sewage pipe to get into the residential complex of the prison. Faizan got stuck <g data-gr-id="254">ian</g> the sewer but Javed went on to climb another wall to enter a park in the Director General's residential complex and casually walked out, speaking volumes about how easy to tamper is the security of this <g data-gr-id="255">high profile</g> prison.
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