Punjab Jails Department officials allowed LeT men to use mobiles

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CHANDIGARH: Over a dozen officers of Punjab Jails Department have been found guilty of allowing two Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists access to mobile phones to contact their handlers in Pakistan. LeT militants Shakkar Ulla and Mohammad Iqbal, lodged in Nabha, Patiala and Amritsar jails between 2009 and 2011, were not only using mobile phones but also Facebook and WhatsApp to contact their handlers and also recruit more terrorists for their outfit while sitting in jail.

A Preliminary Enquiry found 14 jail officials guilty in this regard. These officers included DIG (Prisons) Lakhminder Singh Jakhar, who was jail superintendent in Patiala where Iqbal was lodged in 2009; Jail superintendents Sukhwinder Singh, Gurpal Singh Saroya, Manjit Singh Kalra and Jeewan Kumar Garg and retired superintendents Prem Sagar Sharma, JP Singh, GS Sandhu, Balbir Singh Bisla and deceased deputy superintendent Charanjit Singh.

“A PE established that these fourteen officials were posted in these jails in that period and we have recommended to the government to take action against them,” said Additional DGP (Prisons), Punjab IPS Sahota. The Jails Department has written to the Punjab Government to take departmental action against these officers.

“If the officers are found guilty, the minimum punishment is stopping of increment and maximum punishment is dismissal from service, but it all depends what comes out in the probe and what the inquiry officer recommends,’’ said a senior functionary of the jails department.