“Why were the CCTV cameras not working when inmates were allegedly beaten up?”

Looking into allegations that two Tihar jail inmates serving life sentences were approached by prison officials to kill two Commonwealth Games officials, a court here on Tuesday took exception to the security arrangements at Tihar Jail and noted that inquiry into the matters was not being conducted properly.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Chaudhary, who is monitoring the inquiry into the allegations, noted: “The facts coming before the court during the pendency of this inquiry are showing a sorry state of affairs present with the security of Tihar Jail, which is considered a most secure and high profile jail in India.”

Taking cognisance of a report from the Director-General of Prisons that termed the request of prisoners Amit and Nishant for their transfer to another jail as “frivolous and baseless”, Mr. Chaudhary, while leaving it to the jail authorities discretion where to keep the complainants as per the jail manual, however, ordered prison officials to ensure the safety of the two and keep them under closed-circuit camera surveillance (CCTV).

However, the court noted that the reports received so far have indicated that CCTV systems in Jail Nos. 4 and 5, where Nishant and Amit were lodged respectively, were not working regularly. The court took particular note of the CCTV not working in Jail No. 5 on January 26 when the two inmates alleged they were beaten up.

“The present inquiry is going to find how a knife reached Jail No. 4, which was recovered on the instance of one of the complainant's from a water tank above a toilet in Barrack 3, Ward 11, of Jail No. 4, and how CCTVs in the halls are not working especially at the time when an inmate alleges an attack on him,” Mr. Chaudhary said in his orders.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (District Investigations Unit) Sumer Singh, who has been named the inquiry officer, informed the court that he would complete the inquiry on priority basis in a week. The court also asked the inquiry officer to take note of any lacuna in jail security and to bring out ulterior motives if any behind the alleged incidents.

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