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Jails need mobile jammers: SC

Court seeks to stop its misuse by criminals and influential inmates.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 05, 2005 08:04 PM IST

Taking the antics of RJD MP Pappu Yadav inside Beur Jail as an eye opener, the Supreme Court on Tuesday seriously weighed the idea of disabling mobile phone services inside prisons across the country to stop its misuse by criminals and influential inmates.

A bench comprising Justice N Santosh Hegde and Justice SB Sinha asked mobile service operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Reliance Infocomm to tell it by January 11 the equipment with which mobile phone services could be jammed within the prison precincts.

This direction came during the hearing of a petition challenging a Patna High Court order granting bail to Yadav in the Ajit Sarkar murder case. The apex court had stayed the high court order sending Yadav back to jail.

Referring to the public meeting held by Yadav inside the Beur Jail at Patna and the mobile phones seized from him, the Bench said "there are instances when highly influential persons and powerful personalities have misused the mobile phones while being lodged inside the prison."

It has to be stopped across India in all jails and the process could begin by installing the jammers at the central jails, the Bench observed.

Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Amarendra Saran, who appealed for CBI, strongly argued in favour of shifting Yadav out of Bihar.

The CBI proposed Yadav's shifting to one of the central jails at Poonmallee, Palayamcottai, Vellore, Coimbatore (all Tamil Nadu), Mysore (Karnataka) and Sabarmati (Gujarat).

The CBI said the six cases pending against Yadav could be shifted to one court and the trial could be held with the help of video-conferencing facility available at the six central jails.

However, appearing for Yadav, senior advocate RK Jain contended that the bail issue should be decided first by the Supreme Court before weighing the option of shifting him out of Bihar. "This man is put behind prison without any evidence against him," he contended.

The court agreed to his suggestion and posted the matter for hearing on January 11 even as Jain stated that there had been no complaint about violation of prison manual and rules against Yadav after December 7 incident.

The Bench said that it would also take into account his conduct prior to the incident.

Exasperated by Yadav's "illegal" activities inside Beur Jail at Patna, the Supreme Court on December 14 had sought CBI's view as to where and which prison he should be shifted, either inside or outside Bihar, so as to stop him from violating all "conceivable" rules.

The court had also transferred to itself the proceedings before the Patna High Court in which notices were issued to cellular phone companies to get details of calls made by Yadav to VVIPs from Beur Central Jail, where he was lodged after his bail in Ajit Sarkar murder case was cancelled.

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