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Kotkhai custodial death case: Zaidi seeks access to computer, better facilities; court issues notice to CBI

In his application, Zaidi mentioned that he has been confined to the Burail Jail since January 24, 2020.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published: July 30, 2020 12:23:17 pm
Kotkhai custodial death case He stated that he shares his living space in jail with 12 other inmates. His case-related documents are at constant risk of being misplaced and their safe keeping is difficult.

The suspended Inspector General of Himachal Pradesh Police, Zahur Haider Zaidi, who is currently lodged in the Burail Jail in a custodial death case, on Wednesday moved an application in the special CBI court seeking directions to the Superintendent of Jail to allow him to use computer in the jail office and provide him better facilities.

The Jail Superintendent, however, opposed Zaidi’s plea.

The application was moved in the special CBI court of Dr Sushil Kumar Garg. The court issued a notice to the CBI for reply on July 31, 2020.

cbi co He stated that he shares his living space in jail with 12 other inmates. His case-related documents are at zahur constant risk of being misplaced and their safe keeping is difficult.

Zaidi submitted that before the Covid-19 pandemic, he had regular visits by his counsel, so he could pass hand-written instructions to his counsel and case-related documents after due vetting by jail staff. Since March 17, 2020, the visits by his counsel have been discontinued due to fear of Covid-19. As a result, safe keeping and proper organisation of his case-related material has become difficult.

Thus he pleaded with the court to issue directions to the Jail Superintendent for allowing him to use jail office computer.

Zaidi was opposed by the Superintendent Jail as there is no such provision in the Punjab Jail Manual, whereby the undertrial prisoners may be allowed to have access to computer for preparing their cases.

Further, all the undertrials, convicted prisoners, if they desire, can prepare notes with their own handwriting which are sent outside the jail after censoring the same by the jail authorities. Zaidi was advised to prepare handwritten notes, if he desires so.

The other material such as pen, papers are provided to him at the government expense from the office. He can also discuss his case through e-mulakat with his advocates. The telephone facilities are also available in the jail and the accused can talk to his advocates over the phone.

No jail inmate is allowed to use computer in the office for preparing his case due to security reasons, and so the plea is opposed by the Jail Superintendent.

The CBI court issued a notice to the CBI and deferred the hearing.

Nine accused — IGP Zaidi, Superintendent of Police DW Negi, DSP, Theog, Manoj Joshi, former Kotkhai Station House Officer (SHO) Rajinder Singh, ASI Deep Chand, investigating officer of the case, Head Constables Surat Singh, Mohan Lal and Rafee Mohammad, and Constable Ranjit Steta — are facing charges of custodial death of Suraj Singh at Kotkhai (Himachal Pradesh).

The case had been transferred to the Chandigarh CBI court by the Supreme Court.

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