Prison authority begins probe to find how journalists get info
A three-member committee was formed to look into how the CCTV video footage of Kashimpur Central Jail-1 in Gazipur went to the media
The Department of Prisons has launched an investigation into how the media get to know information of irregularities and corruption in the prisons.
However, there is no precedent for giving exemplary punishment to the culprits involved in various irregularities that take place day after day inside the jail.
On January 31, a three-member committee was formed to look into how the CCTV video footage of Kashimpur Central Jail-1 in Gazipur went to the media and how the journalists got their hands in the official documents from inside the jail, reports the Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
In the footage, Tushar Ahmed, convicted general manager of Hallmark Group, was seen spending time with a woman in the jail in violation of the prison rules.
Senior jail super Ratna Roy and jailer Nur Mohammad Mridha had been withdrawn in the wake of this incident.
Asked why such an inquiry committee was formed, Additional Inspector General of Prisons Md Abrar Hossain said leaking data from the state prison is a serious criminal offence.
"Allowing such a meeting was an irregularity in the prison, and sending out video footage from prison is a serious crime. It is necessary to find out how it happened. We will find out and go into action," he said.
Asked whether or not people should know what is happening inside the prison, Abrar said, "Will the prison staff give out the documents to the journalists about what is happening in the prison?"
Headed by Jashore Deputy Inspector General of Prisons Md Chhagir Mia, the other members of the three-member committee are Kashimpur High Security Central Jail Senior Jail Super Md Gias Uddin and Faridpur District Jail Superintendent Al Masum.
In the letter regarding the formation of the inquiry committee, it was said that the video footage of the meeting between the detainee Tushar Ahmed and the woman in the office room of Kashimpur Central Jail-1 will have to be investigated and a report will be duly submitted to the authorities concerned.
Private TV Channel 24 obtained the video footage and aired it followed by various other TV channels. The Bangla daily Prothom Alo also published the report.
The Department of Prisons instructed the committee to verify the incident and identify the culprits who leaked the footage and mete out punishment to them and give opinions and recommendations.
Hallmark Group General Manager Tushar Ahmed, brother-in-law of the company's Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud, reportedly met the woman inside the office of a prison official on 6 January.
So far, action has been taken against five officials of the jail in connection with the incident, said Inspector General of Prisons Brigadier General Md Mominur Rahman Mamun on Sunday.
He added that all five officials have been attached to the headquarters.
Deputy Jailer Saqlain and two other officials of Kashimpur Jail were withdrawn on Friday for allegedly facilitating the meeting.
In the video clip, Tushar was seen wandering casually in the office of the prison. A woman entered the prison at 12:55pm, and deputy jailer Saqlain himself welcomed her at his office.
Tushar then stayed alone with the woman at the office for about 45 minutes, the footage shows.
The Hallmark Group was found involved in one of the biggest financial scandals in the country.
In the wake of the formation of the inquiry committee, some prison staff vented their resentment on the daily Prothom Alo.
Transparency International Bangladesh Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said the formation of investigation committee will rather add fuel to irregularity inside the prison.
It is clear that the objective of prison authorities is not to restrain crime and irregularity, but to rein in the flow of information, he added.