Pune: In a major security lapse, a burglar who had participated in a video-conferencing from the jail told officers that he has been granted bail and without verifying his claims the jail personnel allowed him to walk free. They let the thief leave without taking any undertaking from him, as he walked out of the jail's main gate.
Surprisingly, neither the gatekeeper nor the sentry at the jail stopped the burglar even though he was in the jail uniform. The top jail authorities have suspended two jail personnel, who were on duty when the incident took place in the Ahmednagar jail on April 4. These include the gatekeeper Sheetal Karad and jail officer Suresh Jadhav.
The state home department has specifically ordered the jail department to use video conferencing effectively for court hearings keeping in mind security issues. Following this, most jails in the state are equipped with the facility.
Speaking to dna, Ahmednagar jail superintendent DD Kale said, "All court hearings are done from the jail only. We don't take inmates directly to the court. We have been using video-conferencing system effectively."
Talking about the incident he said, "It was a major lapse. The burglar Shakti Kale's lawyer was making arguments in the court for his bail. However, Kale was under the impression that the court has sanctioned him bail which he conveyed to the jail authorities. Surprisingly, our officers who were on duty did not verify his claim and allowed him to go out."
The incident came to light when the jail superintendent was informed by the officers about Kale's bail via video-conferencing.
"Soon after the incident, we lodged a complaint with the local police station. A police team went to Kale's village Akolner where he was picked up from his home," the jail superintendent added.
After this incident, the jail officer sent a report to the deputy inspector general (prison) Rajendra Dhamne, who suspended the two jail staffers for negligence and issued a departmental inquiry against the duo.
A costly affair
Currently, 54 prisons and 146 courts are linked through video-conference in the state. In the last three months (ending February 2014), over 10,000 undertrials were produced before the courts via video-conference. The telephone bill for video-conference alone comes to around Rs15,000 per month. The government will check the financial viability before the implementation of this service, a home department official said.