Salim Abdul Razak Baig who was convicted guilty of murdering Sudhakar Lone, a right-hand man of underworld figure Arun Gavli, in 1998 in Mumbai; has approached the Bombay High Court seeking annulment of a 2019 notification stipulating that pay phone facilities in prisons cannot be utilised by individuals involved in terrorism, anti-India activities, Naxalism, or gangsterism.
Baig was sentenced to life in prison and has been incarcerated for 22 years.
The prisoners are provided with a pay phone facility to contact their family members or lawyers. They are allowed to use the pay phone twice a month for 10 minutes each. Foreign nationals in the prison are provided with a 15-minute video call facility twice a month.
Gangster communicated the concern while in prison
Baig has communicated the concern over the notification from the prison. The HC had earlier appointed Advocate Janhavi Karnik from the legal aid to represent Baig. Karnik informed the HC that over 400 prisoners in Kolhapur jail are from outside the district. They rely on the payphone facilities to communicate with family members, lawyers, and others. However, this facility is not available to select individuals.
Stringent security measures observed in prison
Although he has access to payphones, his advocate argued that the notification was discriminatory. She submitted that all phone calls are recorded, and security is ensured by prison authorities during the calls made by any inmate.
A division bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and Shyam Chandak has asked the additional government pleader Vitthal Kinde-Deshmukh to filed reply on behalf of the government in six weeks. The HC has kept the matter for hearing in February 2024.