Open air jail inmates into criminal act?

Three days after Cuttack Police arrested two gun runners, three inmates of Biju Patnaik Open Air Ashram were transferred to Special Jail, Jharpada for creating trouble and instigating the fellow prisoners. According to official version, the three Susant Das, Bimbadhar Mallick and Budheswar Mahakud were protesting arrest of Hara Prasad Sahu, one of the two gun runners, also an inmate at the open air jail, located near Bhubaneswar. There is more to it than meets the eye though. Both prison authorities and the police suspect that the three were into illegal activities which they operated from the prison which does not have a confinement concept. Once Sahu was arrested, the trio took on the jail officials, heckled the superintendent and created a situation which threatened the atmosphere of the jail. “The trio were transferred to Jharpada jail and from there, they could be shifted to their parent prisons,” said an official of the Prisons Directorate. The incident has brought to fore what prison officials dread to mention criminal activity at a correctional facility which gives freedom to the inmates instead of keeping them confined. The jail officials seized the mobile phone used by Susant and handed over the SIM card to police to investigate the calls he made. Susant was arrested in Koraput for trafficking of contraband and booked under NDPS Act. Although those convicted under NDPS Act are not housed at the Jamujhari jail (nor are rapists and habitual murderers), sources said, he was brought here because of his driving skills. “Since skill upgradation of the inmates is one of the major objectives at correctional facilities, Susant was brought in to train the fellow inmates in driving,” sources said. The jail officials suspect that he could have got back into old habits of drug peddling with Sahu as the mentor. In fact, it is Sahu’s antecedents which has prompted both police and prison officials to suspect that the freedom given to the inmates may have been misused. Sahu was arrested by Purighat Police on Tuesday with fire arms and ammunition along with an associate. Convicted for murder of a student leader in 1999, he was transferred to Jamujhari jail only recently. He was lodged at Berhampur, Sambalpur, Choudwar, Jharrpada, Berhampur before being shifted to the Biju Patnaik Open Air Ashram on grounds of good conduct. Sahu, who was on parole for a month from May 4 to June 3, has even got himself a PG degree from inside the prisons. Sources informed that Sahu’s name came into the picture during investigation of gang fights in Ganjam and Sambalpur where he allegedly was the gun supplier. After an associate was arrested, police laid a trap and Sahu walked right into it on Tuesday. His disappearance from the jail had prompted the prison officials to lodge a complaint but soon they heard from the cops that Sahu was not missing and that he had been arrested. He was using at least five SIM cards.

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