Two days after authorities recovered two cell phones, three sim cards and a charger from the cell of Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Murugan, Bagayam police has begun investigating the matter. This latest raid exposes the glaring lapses in security in the Vellore central jail that boasts of 24x7 surveillance.
Prison department personnel led by Jailer C Murugesan had carried out a 'surprise search' during which they reportedly found an iphone, a Samsung phone and a charger. In addition to this, there were also three SIM cards in the cell. These prohibited items were allegedly hidden behind the pictures of deities in Murugan's cell. An officer, who is now investigating the case told TNM that the confiscated items have been handed over to the cyber cell. They will be probing the phone calls that were made and received on these devices.
Based on a complaint from jail authorities, the Bagayam police have registered a case against Murugan under section 42 of the Prisons act. This involves a penalty for the introduction or removal of prohibited articles into or from prison and communication with prisoners. The Bagayam police, will record Jailer Murugesan's statement.
"Witness examination is currently underway and there will be no need to record convict Murugan's statement. There will possibly be a fine, that's all," says Inspector of Bagayam Station Arul Prasad. He further revealed that Murugan had attempted to obstruct the search in his cell.
"Despite the prison authorities having the power to search the cell, the convict tried to stop them. He said they can't touch his bed and other belongings," says the officer. According to ToI, Murugan has also been booked under section 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his/her duty) of IPC read with 48 (1) of the Tamil Nadu Prisoners Act. "We will be investigating further to find out how exactly he got these phones," the inspector adds.
This is however not the first lapse on the part of the Vellore Prison authorities as far as the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts are concerned. In April 2010, mobile phones had been seized from the prison cell of Murugan's wife Nalini Sriharan. She is serving her jail term in the Special Prison for Women in Vellore.
TNM attempted to contact DIG Prisons regarding this recent bust but the calls went unanswered. Only last week, officials had reportedly suspended head warder Kumaravel for smuggling gadgets into the prison. This was after they seized two cell phones from another inmate of the Vellore Central jail.