Prisoners admitted to ward number 16 of Sassoon General Hospital (SGH) get “privileges” and “facilities” that make it the favorite place of languishing for inmates of Yerawada Central Jail.
From petty criminals to those accused of heinous crimes, everyone has found ward number 16, and sometimes neighboring wards, a paradise and sometimes an easy escape route. However, SGH authorities claim that the safety of defendants and prisoners taken out of jail for treatment is the responsibility of the police.
Inmates who need medical care that cannot be provided in prison are referred to Sassoon General Hospital and admitted to ward number 16. However, for the influential, obtaining a referral for admission to the hospital for “holidays” outside The sad prison is also a It is not a secret, according to officials.
Government hospital sources said that inmates, when admitted, get facilities like bed, ventilator, separate and common clean toilets, hygienic conditions and better food compared to jail.
“Some enjoy privileges such as sharing meals, drinking coffee, using mobile devices and completing errands. The most important thing is that they also have the opportunity to meet family members and associates,” the hospital source said.
Hygiene is compromised in Yerawada Central Jail due to overcrowding. Family members cannot meet with inmates. Defendants can speak via intercom with their families once a week for ten minutes, unlike those convicted once every 15 days. Inmates face bleak conditions in the prison, where they receive quality basic food. And restriction to go to bed and get up early, with few dirty bathrooms and a shortage of sleeping space.
To get benefits in the hospital, the first step in the modus operandi is to get a referral for admission in Sassoon from the medical staff of Yerawada jail. Next comes building trust with the prison police and the police officers in charge of security at the hospital. In the absence of adequate security measures, the hospital sometimes becomes a convenient and easy escape route for inmates admitted for treatment.
After gaining the trust of the police officers assigned to security, he finds the right moment to escape without raising suspicion in the inmates’ next move. Escape seems difficult, but not impossible, for notorious criminals who come with the aim of fleeing. However, prison officials say inmates are referred to hospitals outside the prison only after proper verification and when such treatment is not possible at the prison hospital.
Lalit Anil Patil (34), from Yerawada Central Jail, who was booked into Sassoon Ward No. 16, managed to escape from the authorities on the night of October 2. Patil was accused of involvement in illicit sale of narcotics and was booked on September 30 following a raid by the anti-narcotics cell in which Patil’s aide, Subhash Janaki Mandal, 29, was arrested for possession of 1.71 kg and 53 milligrams of mephedrone with an estimated value $2.14 crores.
Earlier, in June 2023, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had informed the court that former encounter specialist and retired police inspector Pradeep Sharma was admitted to Sassoon General Hospital for 43 days, during which time He abused his freedom when meeting visitors. , both convicted and wanted defendants.
Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao and District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh on Friday visited Ward No. 16, where inmates are admitted for treatment. A committee of three doctors has been set up to examine inmates receiving treatment at the hospital.
Dr Sanjeev Thakur, dean of BJ Medical College and SGH, said, “We have given a deadline of Saturday to the doctors and the head of the department to submit the report on the status of the inmates undergoing treatment. Doctors have been asked to provide treatment to inmates as soon as possible and inmates who do not need hospitalization to be discharged. “The committee will decide which patients will be discharged from the hospital.”