Reputation of the largest jail in Maharashtra and one of the largest in South Asia, Yerawada Central Prison, took a beating after a 27-year-old undertrial inmate, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree yesterday evening. The deceased had been accused of housebreaking. While sources said that a suicide note was found, the jail administration has denied this claim.
The deceased, identified as Brijeshkumar Harijan, was a resident of Madhya Pradesh. “The incident came to light around 6.30 pm when some inmates found Harijan’s body suspended from a tree adjacent to the new barracks in Tilak Yards,” said jail superintendent Yogesh Desai.
He added that the deceased had used a towel to hang himself, and asserted that no suicide note has been recovered. A source from the prison, however, told MiD DAY that a suicide note was indeed found at the spot, but it has not been placed on record.
Senior inspector Kishor Jadhav of Yerawada Jail said that Harijan was arrested by Vishrambaug police in February year for committing burglary.
He was remanded in judicial custody and lodged in the jail. He added that the incident took place between 3 pm and 6 pm, when all the inmates were allowed to roam in the compound. Jadhav too maintained that no suicide note had been recovered during the course of the inquest and ‘panchnama’ of the spot.
The uncertain security of jails in the state has once again come to the fore. A few days ago, MLA Anil Gote had created a flutter in the legislative assembly by telling home minister RR Patil that he could ‘break into’ Yerawada Jail for a sum of Rs 5 lakh.
Gote had made the remarks after BJP MLA from Pune, Madhuri Misal had asked Patil during question hour, about mobile phones and other such facilities illegally being made available to prisoners. The home minister had later assured that the process to install CCTVs and jammers in jails was in progress.
No action yet against prison personnel
Superintendent Yogesh Desai said that an inquiry will be initiated by the jail administration and even the police will investigate the matter. If someone were found culpable, he would be penalised for the negligence, he assured.
3,600 The approximate number of inmates housed at Yerawada Central Prison
1. Suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Mohammed Qateel Siddiqui was murdered in the high-security Anda Cell in Yerawada Jail on June 7, 2012 by two local gangsters Sharad Mohol and Alok Bhalerao.
2. On June 27 this year, underworld don Abu Salem was shot at in Taloja Jail by inmate Devendra Jagtap. However, the underworld don survived the attack.