Monday, May 12, 2014

Half a dozen mobiles being used in Arthur Rd jail: Cops

Sleuths Monitoring Criminals’ Calls Found They Were Made From Prison


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: At least half a dozen mobile phones are being illegally used by inmates of Arthur Road jail, arguably the state’s most high-security prison. Sources in security agencies familiar with the investigations said the phones are being used by hardened criminals and gangsters to run extortion rackets and plan other criminal acts.
    According to a senior security officer, a politician had, during the run-up to the elections, allegedly made phone calls to a gangster in the prison and asked him convince his men to support his party.
    Despite the recent cleanup efforts after the arrest of two officials on bribery charges and the discovery of a cellphone in a gangster’s possession, the jail is yet to be completely rid of gangsters’ mobile phones. This information came to the security personnel’s knowledge while they were monitoring some gangsters’ phone calls outside the prison. “We found that the other phone’s location was Arthur Road jail. A gangster lodged in the prison makes use of a mobile phone, but does not keep it in his cell. He could be afraid of some vigilance raid and might not want to lose the device,” said a police source.
    If the use of phones within the jail is very much in the security’s knowledge, why don’t they seize the devices or alert jail officials? “These are matters of operational secrecy which cannot be discussed with other agencies. If we seize the phones, how will we get the information we are getting now?” replied a senior police official.
    The information that phones are being used by the prison inmates has come at a time when jail authorities are busy in installing phone jammers. Despite earlier attempts by cellphone companies, the jammer installation process had got stuck due to technical reasons. “Frequencies of mobile phones were so powerful that jammers could not stop them. This time, cellphone companies have come up with advanced versions of jammers and stronger technology,” said a jail official.
    Jail officials conduct surprise checks in various cells but are unable to find the mobile phones. “Hardened criminals in the jail probably get an inkling of the raid and hence, hide the instrument,” said a police source. On several occasions in the past, the police have recovered cellphones from this prison despite jail officials’ claim of non-existence of mobile phones.
    The official capacity of Arthur Road jail is for 804 inmates. But, it houses over 2,500 prisoners. Cellphones are not allowed in the prison
    During a surprise check in April, authorities recovered a cellphone, battery and a SIM card from a murder accused, Uday Pathak. He was later arrested in another case

    Phones are smuggled by “carriers”, who are petty criminals. For hardened criminals, phones are vital to stay in touch with their aides
    A few years ago, the crime branch had arrested ex-Chhota Rajan aide, D K Rao, from within the jail. Police had recovered a cellphone, a SIM card and some batteries

The Times of India, May 12, 2014

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