A departmental probe has been initiated against four officials of Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district jail after a video went viral showing two inmates brandishing a pistol and drinking liquor inside the prison premises.

The police department said that the video of the inmates – Amrish and Gaurav Pratap Singh, who also goes by the name Ankur – was circulated on the social media on June 23.

In a bizarre explanation, the Uttar Pradesh home department stated that the pistol was apparently “made of clay” and looked real because one of the two inmates is a “good painter”.

The statement also issued a clarification on the food being laid out for these inmates.

The UP home department said, “During the probe, it was found that Gaurav is a very good painter, and the country-made pistol shown in the video is actually made of clay (mitti).”

“Apart from this, all the food items, which are seen in the video, are regular items which are given to the inmates. None of the items were brought from outside or are objectionable,” the statement added.

DIG Range Lucknow has been ordered to investigate the incident. The four officials who are being probed have been transferred and the two inmates seen in the video will be transferred to other jails, State Jail Minister Jai Kumar Singh Jaiki said.

Terming the entire sequence of events as “serious”, Additional Director General (Prisons) Anand Kumar said, “In the investigation, it was found that the incident was done in collusion with some jail officials to put pressure on the jail administration.”

“In this context, head jail warders Mata Prasad and Hemraj, jail warder Awadhesh Sahu and Saleem Khan have been found to be colluding with the inmates, and action is being initiated against them as per rules,” he added.

“Inmate Amrish was brought to Unnao jail from Meerut, while Gaurav was transferred from Lucknow,” he said.

According to the home department, inmate Amrish, a resident of Meerut, is serving a life term for murder and loot, while inmate Gaurav, who is from Rae Bareli is serving time for several cases of loot and murder.