5 years on,Kalaghoda court’s plea for CCTVs stuck in red tape

The bid was,however,foiled after the police found a country-made revolver during a random check.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:September 21, 2013 1:26 am

Suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Usmani’s escape from the MCOCA court premises has once again raised serious concerns about security in the sessions court at Kalaghoda.

The proposal to install CCTVs in and around the court premises,which house all special courts,including the MCOCA,TADA,NDPS and POTA courts,has been lying in cold storage for nearly five years,a senior court official said.

In April 2011,two armed men had tried to help Devendra Jagtap alias JD,a sharpshooter and murder accused,escape from the court premises. The bid was,however,foiled after the police found a country-made revolver during a random check.

After this incident,the court administration wrote to the Public Works Department seeking installation of CCTVs in and around the premises,but the area continues to remain vulnerable.

Recently,JD allegedly shot at gangster Abu Salem inside Taloja jail where Usmani too was lodged till he gave police the slip at the court premises Friday afternoon.

The sessions court,which has thousands of visitors,including undertrials and lawyers every day,has only scanners installed at the entrances. Constables at the gates have been assigned the job to man the crowd at the court. “If some anti-social element manages to enter the court,one would not even have an idea where he entered from. It is a serious security concern and we have informed the PWD and Home department about this at regular intervals,” said a court

official.

At present,there is only one CCTV installed at the Kalaghoda Junction,a well-placed source at the court said.

When contacted,a senior PWD official said the letter sent by the Sessions court registrar’s office was promptly replied to and they were directed to approach the Home department.

“Installation of CCTVs is the Home department’s prerogative,” said the official,who did not wish to be quoted.

It is not difficult for undertrials to get their choice of cigarettes or even make calls using mobile phones in the court premises.

Earlier this year,two undertrials,since convicted for life,even managed to visit a mall across the road and shop for apparel along with constables.

The Indian Express had reported this incident following which the two constables who had accompanied the undertrials to the mall were suspended.

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