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Greasing palms provides the short cut

M Moneruzzaman

An unauthorized system is in place in   Dhaka Central Jail that allows visitors to meet inmates without delay by greasing palms.
The payments are collected against ‘special slips’.
Apparently not authorized by the jail authorities, guards charge Tk 300 as the ‘fee’ from each visitor keen to meet inmates bypassing queues.
According to guards, visitors arriving at the prison gate between 8:00am to 10:30am have to wait up to an hour before they are allowed to meet their relatives or friends in the jail and those arriving after 11:am have to wait up to three hours.
And there is no waiting time for the visitors agreeing to collect ‘special slips’ paying between Tk 2,000 and Tk 3,000.
For them the meetings with the inmates take place in the comfort of the jail office.
Some officials are always there to arrange the speedy and hassle free meetings bending the rules.
Payment of Tk 300 makes the experience less comfortable. Every day, hundreds of visitors take the short cut, said a guard.       
‘This week, I spoke twice with my husband, and each time I had to pay Tk 300,’ Sathi told New Age.
In exchange of money, two prison guards arranged her meeting with her husband in full view of others after she arrived at the prison gate with her one-year-old child.
A visitor alleged she had sent money to her husband through a prison guard who took Tk 600 as the ‘commission.’
Visitor Millat Hossain said that he took a ‘special slip’ by paying Tk 300 to meet his uncle who is serving a six-month term sentenced by a mobile court.
He told New Age that he could meet his uncle in less than 30 minutes.
Jail guards return the money if no meeting could be arranged for one reason or another. 
An on-duty warder told New Age none is forced to avail the facility. 
‘The visitors can easily meet the inmates if they have the patience to wait for while,’ he said. 
He said that between Tk 5,000 to Tk 10,000 was collected each day from visitors under the ‘special slip system’.                       
Dhaka Central Jail senior Superintendent Forman Ali told New Age that he was not aware that bribes were being taken to arrange speedy meetings between the visitors and the inmates.
‘I will look into the matter,’ he added.
Jailer Mahbubur Rahman said that charging money for such meetings was illegal.
Now Dhaka Central Jail has over 8,000 inmates.

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