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SC moots cellphone jammers for jails
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 4
The Supreme Court today asked the mobile phone companies to explore the feasibility of installing "jammers" in all jails across the country to prevent the use of mobile phones by prisoners.

The idea was mooted by a Bench of Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Mr Justice S. B. Sinha in the backdrop of RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav using the mobile phone with impunity inside Patna's Beur Jail, where he is confined in the judicial custody in a murder case.

In the meantime, the CBI has identified six jails in the country for shifting Pappu Yadav. Yadav was indulging in various illegal activities like using cellphone to talk to various VIPs, including top officials of Bihar and holding "durbars" of his supporters inside the prison.

The court in a suo motu action, had sought details from the CBI about other jails where the RJD MP, could be shifted.

While taking the incident of his using mobile phone seriously, the Bench asked the BSNL and Reliance Infocom advocates Soli J. Sorabjee and Harish Salve, respectively, whether jammers could be installed in the jails across the country.

"There are instances of powerful persons using cellphones inside the jails. What about installation of jammers. It is not the matter of Beur jail alone, we want to check the menance of cellphones in every jail and want the cooperation of the Cellular companies," the Bench said asking the mobile companies to submit their replies by January 11.

The Court said the expenses of installation and maintenance of the jammers had to be borne by the concerned state governments.

On the question of shifting Pappu Yadav to a jail outside Bihar, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Amrendra Sharan, appearing for the CBI, said the agency had indentified six prisons for him.

The identified prions are; Poonmalle, Palayamkottai, Vellore and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Mysore and Sabarmati Central jails in Karnataka and Gujarat.

The CBI counsel said all the six prisons had "video confrencing" facilites which could be extended to Patna Special Court, holding trial against Pappu Yadav so that he could be examined directly from jail without being produced before the judge.

But Yadav's counsel R. K. Jain opposed his shifting saying that since the last order of the apex court on December 7 his client had "improved his behaviour and has not violated any jail norms."

"How many last incidents you would refer?" the court asked him. Pappu Yadav's counsel pleaded that the bail petition of the jailed MP should be heard by the court before deciding the question of his shifting to other jail.

He said if he succeeded in getting the bail, the whole issue of his tranfer to other jail would become anfractuous.

At this the Court posted the matter for further hearing , including his bail plea to January 11.

The apex court had earlier cancelled Pappu Yadav's bail twice, granted by the Patna High Court, for his "violating" the bail conditions and jail norms.

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