Sunday, September 22, 2013

Familiarity with prisoners prompts police to ease up

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai:Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Afzal Usmani’s escape from sessions court on Friday has made policemen wary. Criminals, especially those who have been in custody for long and have been following a jail-to-court routine, either grow close to their guards or know so much about their activities tha tthey take advantage of the situation. At times, the guards also stop monitoring them closely.
    “Some prisoners behave as if they are the law-abiding citizens and cooperate with the cops at every stage. This
develops a kind of relationship between the accused and guards. However, there are some prisoners, like Usmani, whoperhapsplanandthenexecute their steps,” said a senior officer, who has worked with the jail department. 

    There is also the corruptionanglethathelpsprisoners get what they want. For instance, when prisoners are brought to court, their family members come to meet them. The families pay the cops Rs 100 to Rs 1,000 to speak with them,saidasource.

    “As these accused are in jail for years, the police escort team recognize them by
names and faces;at times they even share food.Everything is done in good faith. It’s too early to say if Usmani was on good terms with his guard. But how can a policeman trust a blast accused and leave him alone,”asked a senior officer.
    There have been cases when escort cops were spotted with inmates at hotels, taking food parcels for them or sending messages to their families. “Such things happen and many senior policemen know about it. But when an inmate escapes or an untoward incident takes place, the cops wake up and initiate inquiries,”said a source. 
The Times of India, September 22, 2013

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