Disgraced Satyam chief B Ramalinga Raju could be ruing his fate after the Supreme Court on Tuesday cancelled his bail but the apex court’s directive has brought a smile on the face of the state prison chief. The state prisons department is toying with the idea of using Raju’s expertise in handling operations at the country’s first prison BPO unit, which is all set to start operations on Nov 1.

Though on a trial basis for now, prison officials hope that the BPO project would benefit IT from IT czar Raju’s experience, in making such projects a profitable venture. Well, this is assuming that his health permits him to stay behind bars and not in a hospital.

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“We will use his ideas to improve the existing infrastructure and also seek his opinion on how best to utilize manpower available at our unit,” said C N Gopinatha Reddy, director-general of prisons. This would also keep Raju occupied, he added. As of now, the BPO unit has its hands full with projects and looks good to work on a few big assignments after the inauguration. Having bagged the census data compilation project and the manual digitization work, talks are on with a few big names in the banking sector to get work for jailbirds manning the BPO.

Department officials said getting associated with projects in the banking sector would involve BPO workers verifying scanned cheques and related documents. The prison department is in talks with some banking firms in Canada to grab its first international project. The BPO workers for this project will be required to examine scanned documents in various categories. Needless to say, these documents would be of a non-confidential nature, so that there’s no scope of tampering by BPO workers, who are all convicted prison inmates. “It will all be done under the supervision of our people, the idea being to make the entire process foolproof,” said Reddy.

With talks having been finalized between Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Radiant Technologies (the IT firm setting up the investing money to set up the BPO), to provide the hardware support for the prison BPO, the authorities are now eyeing a formal inauguration of this unit. The guest list for the inauguration, slotted sometime in November, would include Union home minister P C Chidamabaram, among others. Raju, who masterminded one of the world’s biggest corporate scams, could well turn into the prison’s best “inhouse” expert to study financial documents.

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