The Ramanagara Town police have registered a case under Section 42 of the Karnataka Prisons (Amendment) Act of 2022 after a group of undertrials at the Ramanagara District Prison not only celebrated one of their inmate’s birthday with a bash but also posted images and videos from it on social media.
The photos and the clips subsequently went viral and ended up on the phone screen of Ramanagara Superintendent of Police (SP) K Santosh Babu.
Making a mockery of the Karnataka Prisons and Correctional Services, the undertrials not only used smartphones in jail but were also active on social media, said senior police officials.
Babu wrote to the ADGP Prisons informing him about the incident, and also requested him to initiate an internal probe to identify lapses on the part of jail officials.
He noted that such a birthday party could not have taken place without their knowledge.
It may be noted that cops are already investigating a threat call made to Union minister Nitin Gadkari from the Hindalga jail in Karnataka.
Police register case
According to Babu, the issue was not the birthday party celebration but the use of phones in prison.
If a phone is found inside the jail barracks, the authorities seize it and conduct an inquiry regarding who used it. They then file a complaint with the jurisdictional cops.
In this instance, it was the Ramanagara Town police, who registered a case under Section 42 of the Karnataka Prisons (Amendment) Act-2022 and also under IPC Section 424 (dishonest or fraudulent removal or concealment of property).
The amended Section 42 of the Karnataka Prisons Act-2022 states that the penalty for introduction or removal of prohibited articles, mobile, or any instrument of communication into or from prison and communication with prisoners is punishable with three-five years in prison and a fine.
The birthday bash
According to police sources, an undertrial named Kiran Kumar aka Tamate Kiran, who has around four cases — including robbery and dacoity registered against him — had his birthday on 14 January.
The name “Tamate” is used in the local dialect to denote a drummer.
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Their jubilant celebrations with a cake-cutting ceremony along with a floral Rangoli stating “Happy Birthday Kiran Anna” were photographed and videographed using a smartphone inside Barrack No 2.
Those media, including images of a garlanded Kiran with other undertrials, were shared widely on social media platforms, where they circulated for the next two days.
There was also a selfie taken by an undertrial, which Kiran posted on his Instagram account.
As the images went viral, one of the netizens tagged the Ramanagara SP to bring it to his notice.
That’s when Babu directed the local police to take action. They conducted a raid at the prison and recovered two mobile phones, including one smartphone, and a SIM card.
The jail officials further conducted an inquiry and found five undertrials were involved. They were identified as Tamate Kiran, Lokesh V, Venukumar R, Karthik S, and Appu Naik.
Subsequently, the in-charge jail superintendent Shrishail Kattimani filed a complaint with the Ramanagara Town police, which registered a case.
Prison officials’ version
Ramanagara Jail Superintendent In-Charge Kattimani told South First that his senior — Jail Superintendent Ambarish Poojary — was on leave as his father had expired recently.
He also said: “Actually, it was not a cake that was shown in the photograph. They (the inmates) had made a pudding of wet biscuits and buns, which Kiran’s relatives had brought with them when visiting him in jail for his birthday.”
According to prison sources, Kiran seemed to be a celebrated undertrial and everyone addressed him as anna (brother).
“Kiran’s associates had collected flowers from the jail gardens and also used some pooja flowers to make a rangoli for him. They somehow sneaked in a phone hoodwinking the jail authorities, and were using it in their barracks,” Kattimani told South First.
“We conduct regular checks of the barracks. Whenever we stumble on anything like this, we file a complaint with the police,” he said, adding: “There is also an issue of shortage of staff here at the prison.”
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The Ramanagara District prison, which houses around 260 undertrials, has no signal jammer.
There is a proposal for upgraded jammers, which can stop even 5G signals, to be installed at all high-security prisons.
However because of its big budget, it is still in the pipeline, a senior jail official told South First.