By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Oct 23: Hardcore criminals and dreaded terrorists will not be allowed to leave the four walls of their prison wards to attend courts during the trial period.
Instead they will face the trial sitting in prison through a multi-point video conferencing system to be in place in a week's time. Officials have already conducted trial runs successfully using the new software.
The prisons department favoured introduction of multi-point video conferencing system to prevent hardcore criminals from interacting with their "contacts" during physical production in courts. There have been instances of such criminals hatching conspiracies from jails and executing them while being produced in courts for trial. A few of them have managed to give a slip to the security personnel escorting them.
Unlike the existing video conferencing facility now available in some jails, the multi-point system will enable virtual trial from any jail to any court in the State. A hardcore criminal wanted in cases pending before many courts can attend the virtual trial through the multi-point video conferencing system. To begin with, 11 major jails in the State will be connected with courts through this system.
Since the hardcore criminal can be produced virtually in all the courts simultaneously from the jail ward, there's no chance of his appearing physically. He will continue to remain in prison ward all through the trial period and will come out only when granted bail or acquitted of charges.
The system involves setting up of cameras at important courts dealing with criminal cases and various jails. They will be interlinked with a telephone network through dedicated lines to ensure always on connectivity.
"We are going for the multipoint system in view of frequent complaints of hardcore criminals conspiring from jails to create disturbances outside or commit dacoities. Our system will prevent such a possibility," a senior prisons official said.
Official records show that one per cent of the total 6,500 odd convicts and about 11,000 under trials are hardcore criminals. A person, who is involved in a major crime or a habitual offender involved in more than three crimes is considered as a hardcore criminal. ISI activists and other suspected aides of terrorist outfits also fall under the category.
Hardcore criminals are kept in isolation or heavily protected rooms in prisons.