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Phones seized from jail to be auctioned

Abhay Kumar, Patna, Nov 14, 2012, DHNS: 1:19 IST
Those who could not buy a trendy mobile set owing to its high price, don’t lose heart. For, more than 700 cellphones of different brands and shapes will be up for grabs when the Bihar government will auction mobiles seized from Beur Central Jail.

Perhaps this will be first-of-its-kind initiative in the country where the jail authorities will put the retrieved cellphones up for sale. The auction idea cropped up when more than 400 handsets were recovered from the prison during surprise raids in the last one year. These phones were recovered not from inmates but were found hidden in either trees or drains.

“As a consequence, no FIR could be lodged against inmates. Nor the seized item could be put as exhibit. The auction was the only way out. So we sought permission from the Home Department which eventually gave its nod with a rider. It asked us to appoint a magistrate before auctioning them to avoid any legal hassle,” said a source in the Prison Department.

Those who have apprehensions about buying second-hand mobile sets or want a cash memo of the auctioned item, the prison authorities have made an alternate arrangement.

They will issue a certificate which will mention the model number and the IMEI number of the handset and the buyer’s name and address. “Since we cannot give a cash memo for the handset, we will issue the certificate which will be duly signed by the jail authorities.

The certificate, which will act as a proof of purchase, will also ensure that the buyer does not face any legal hassle and he or she remains the legal owner of the handset,” said the Beur jail superintendent Shivendra Priyadarshi.

“Before auctioning on December 8, all the data stored in the mobile will be erased and the cellphones properly formatted so that it becomes as good as new,” the official added.

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