Mateen Hafeez I TNNMumbai: The 3,000 undertrials lodged at Arthur Road jail cannot make merry on December 31 as they did last year. This time, they will have to be present in the ground for the whole day since it will be their Warrant and Body Counting Day, when new numbers are given to them, said a source.
Following the brutal murder of an inmate, robber John D’Souza, on December 23, the inmates, their barracks and belongings have come under the jail officials’ scanner.
D’Souza was stabbed to death allegedly by a group on the instructions of a Dawood gangster.
Sources said that last year the jail officials had allowed a small function to celebrate New Year; food was also ordered from outside and liquor, too, was smuggled in. A section of undertrials had allegedly gifted a sherwani to a senior jail official.
There were reports that gangster Abu Salem had been offered biryani and pulao in the jail. However, it turned out that it was part of the function organised by the inmates within the jail. It was learnt that a small-time DJ was also called for the function.
When contacted, Swati Sathe, superintendent of the Arthur Road jail, said, “December 31 is the Warrant and Body Counting Day and all the undertrials will be given new numbers. The session will start early in the morning and all the inmates will be called to the ground. In the evening, they will be sent back to their barracks where they will be given their numbers.’’
She added that this counting was a yearly roll-call for the jail inmates.
Arthur Road jail gets around 100 new inmates every day. Since the jail is already overcrowded, many inmates are transferred to other jails. There are also those who leave the jail after being granted bail or acquitted.
“The jail has undertrials accused in sensational cases. Most of the accused in the 1993 bomb blasts case, Ghatkopar bomb blast case, 7/11 train bombing case, gangsters from the Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan and other gangs are lodged here. So we have to be strict to deal with such hardened criminals,’’ said a jail official.
The Times of India, December 29, 2006