The Supreme Court was informed on Monday that 240 under-trial prisoners (UTPs), facing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases, were lodged in different jails of Punjab, while NAB had written to relevant officials for video link facilities in jails but awaited the government response in this regard.
On June 3, a three-member bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, while hearing the bail plea of a NAB accused, had noted delays in the trial of those accused by NAB because of the Covid-19 situation and sought reports regarding the video link facilities in jails to conduct trials of the accused persons.
In compliance with the order, the NAB prosecutor general and the inspector general (IG) of prisons, Punjab, submitted separate reports. The IG Prisons stated that a total of 240 UTPs, facing NAB cases, were detained in different jails of the province.
The NAB prosecutor general, in his report, stated that the graft buster had already written to all IGs of prisons for the implementation of court order about the availability of video link facility. However, the prosecutor general added, the government response was still awaited.
The superintendent of the Central Jail Rawalpindi reported that a special courtroom had been earmarked for video link trial of the UTPs. The report said that the courtroom was equipped with necessary paraphernalia to link with NAB courts.
Consequently, both the accountability courts in Islamabad were conducting trials of the accused at the Central Jail through the video link. Likewise, the superintendents of the central jails in Sahiwal and Multan and the women’s jail in Multan also reported that dedicated courtrooms had been set up.
The superintendents of the two jails in Lahore – the District Jail and the Central Jail – informed the court that dedicated courtrooms and internet connectivity were available, while further arrangements were being made regarding the missing paraphernalia.
The reports said that the administrations of both these jails would make all necessary arrangements whenever the respective NAB courts ordered for the proceedings through video link. The apex court will resume the hearing of case on Tuesday (today).