State home minister RR Patil and director general of police Sanjeev Dayal on Tuesday evening convened a meeting on security of courts and prisoners being escorted to jails.
The meeting comes in the wake of the escape of Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist Afzal Usmani that had left the police department red-faced.
While police officials put forward their problems to the minister, a new standard operating procedure (SOP) was also discussed to tackle such situations, sources said.
“The main agenda was the escape of Usmani. Several things such as how the incident occurred and who was at fault were discussed. Emphasis was on how to prevent such incidents, better security in courts and well-organised escort of prisoners to courts. The outcome was the framing of a new SOP, which wasn’t there until now, if such a situation arises,” Dayal told dna.
“We suggested greater usage of video-conferencing for court hearings. This will reduce usage of manpower to ferry prisoners to courts and a risk-free way to ensure that no untoward incident takes place while court proceedings get over smoothly. The government is considering this suggestion,” said a police official who attended the meeting.
As prisoners and undertrials cannot be handcuffed while being taken to court, it gives them a better chance to escape, said the official.
Asked if the police had also suggested inserting GPS-enabled chips inside the body of prisoners and undertrials to keep track of them, the officer said, “Our human rights will never let us go ahead with such recommendations.”
Recent international issues, such as Nairobi’s 26/11-styled attack and Peshawar blast in Pakistan were also discussed at the meeting. “Considering these instances and the manner in which the attacks were carried out, preparations that need to be made in local malls and religious places were discussed,” said an IPS officer present at the meeting.
Sources said that Mumbai police commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh, joint commissioners of police Sadanand Date and Himanshu Roy, state intelligence commissioner KL Prasad and anti-terrorism squad chief Rakesh Maria were also present at the meeting which lasted nearly two hours.
Besides Patil, a few officials from the home department attended the meeting.
On September 24 meeting agenda
At the meeting, the emphasis was on how to prevent such incidents, better security in courts and well-organised escort of prisoners to courts. The outcome of the meeting was the framing of a new standard operating procedure
Recent global issues like Nairobi’s 26/11-like attack and Pakistan blast were discussed.