The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday demanded a Punjab and Haryana High Court-monitored probe into the death of high-profile accused in judicial custody and sought the sacking of Jail Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa, alleging complete breakdown of administration in the state prisons.
In a statement, former Minister Maheshinder Singh Grewal said the death of Gurpinder Singh, a prime accused in 548-kilogram heroin drug haul, in Amritsar jail, raises several questions because the accused involved in extremely sensitive cases were dying in jails.
"It needs to be ascertained if this was deliberate and whether there was any foul play behind the death of Gurpinder as is being claimed by his family," Grewal said.
The Akali leader said that sacrilege accused Mohinderpal Bittu was murdered in Nabha jail after being allowed out of his cell despite orders that he will be kept in isolation and not to be allowed to mingle with other prisoners.
"There was also a case in Ludhiana central jail where an inmate died due to mysterious reasons following which inmates who were protesting against this were fired upon leading to one death," said Grewal.
"There have also been cases of extortions taking place in Patiala Jail where inmates were sodomised by gangsters in league with jail officials," Grewal said while stressing that all these cases needed to be thoroughly probed.
He alleged that "jungle raj" was prevailing in Punjab jails and indicated that corruption was rampant. He said that fair and transparent administration had been given the go by.
"All this is happening under the nose of the Jails Minister who is eager to give statements but does not even have basic knowledge of the jail manual. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh should take prompt action against Randhawa," said Grewal.
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