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Order reserved on plea to shift Pappu Yadav

By Our Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI, FEB. 3. The Supreme Court today reserved verdict on the petitions from the Central Bureau of Investigation and the brother of a deceased trade union leader, seeking direction to shift the RJD MP from Madhepura, Pappu Yadav, to a jail outside Bihar. Yadav is now lodged in Beur jail in Patna.

A Bench of Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Justice S.B. Sinha, while reserving the verdict, said that jails would not be allowed to be converted into "headquarters of crime." It directed the CBI to seize all documents pertaining to Mr. Yadav's treatment in hospital while he was in judicial custody as an accused in the Ajit Sarkar murder case and produce them in court in two weeks.

The petitioner, Kalyan Chandra Sarkar, had alleged that Mr. Yadav was tampering with evidence, holding regular durbars in prison and threatening jail officials, besides using cell phones for approaching politicians and others from jail.

R.K. Jain, senior counsel for Mr. Yadav, pleaded that shifting the accused outside the State would curtail his fundamental right to meet his family members and suggested that he be shifted to some other jail in Bihar or to Delhi where his wife, an MP, and children lived.

`No respect to court order'

The judges said that Mr. Yadav had not shown any respect to the repeated orders of the court and defied them to roam around in Madhepura, by hosting dinner in the jail on his release on bail, using cell phones and entertaining a large number of visitors while in custody. They said: "We are satisfied that Beur jail is not in a position to keep a check on this prisoner. Beur jail is supposed to be a model jail in Bihar.

If the model jail itself is bad, then what do you do."

Supporting the petitioner, the Additional Solicitor-General, Amarendra Saran, appearing for the CBI, referred to the incidents showing Mr. Yadav's unruly behaviour and said his conduct clearly exhibited a tendency to flout rules.

He suggested six jails — Poonamallee, Palayamkottai, Vellore, and Coimbatore (in Tamil Nadu), Mysore (Karnataka) and Sabarmati (Gujarat) — where Mr. Yadav could be shifted.

The jails had video conferencing facilities and the trial of the prisoner in Bihar would not be hampered.

The court will now take up related matters, including installing jammers in jails across the country, on February 17.

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