Prison cells to be scanned


The Prisons Department Thursday issued a memorandum asking jail authorities to inspect cells and search inmates for prohibited articles, two days after Herald exposed that serial killer Mahanand Naik was making intimidating calls to the lone surviving victim of his crimes from the Central Jail, Aguada. 
The memorandum was issued to Aguada Jail, Sada Sub Jail and Mapusa Judicial Lock up where hundreds of convicts and undertrials are lodged. 
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had demanded an inquiry based on Herald’s report on Wednesday. In its report submitted on the very same day, the Aguada jail officials however claimed they did not find any prohibited article from Mahanand’s possession raising suspicions as to how the cellphone found its way into the jail. 
The notorious criminal, in his statement to the inquiry officer, denied allegations stating he should be punished if found doing so.   
Additional Inspector General of Prisons Damodar Shanke said the jail officials/officers are instructed to be scrupulous, alert and cautious. 
“They are asked to inspect all cells of jail lock ups and ensure there were no prohibited articles. If they find any, they should be reported to the head office following which action will be taken,” Shanke told Herald. 
Herald had first reported on Tuesday that Mahanand was making harassing calls and sending text messages to the cell phone of the victim. 
Gopal Parsekar, Superintendent of Central Jail Aguada, had admitted while speaking to Herald that the victim girl had earlier complained about Mahanand’s intimidating calls and text messages to her after which action was taken. 
The number: 8806482656 belongs to Wilfred Rodrigues, a Mapusa resident. The Prisons department is now awaiting police investigation report. 
In the meanwhile, Aguada Jail authorities are conducting another inquiry whether Rodrigues is known to Mahanand after subsequent report on Herald’s Thursday edition. “Visitors register is being checked. A report will be submitted to the headquarters soon, an official from Aguada jail, said.   
Calangute police station, investigating into the calls and SMSes has approached the cellular company for details. PI Nolasco Raposo told Herald a formal request letter to Vodafone Company has been sent to furnish calls and message details, and tower location. 
Mahanand, till date, has a string of eight acquittals out of 18 cases booked against him while his convictions are on appeal to the High Court of Bombay at Goa. 
His spate of crimes  rape, murder and robbery cases, unfolded one by one after he was called for questioning in the rape charge by this lone surviving victim in April 2009. [H]