Director-General (Prisons) remits sentences of several prisoners who were facing up to five years in jail

Thirty-six-year-old Rajan Kumar was elated on being released from Tihar Central Jail here on Thursday, almost a month before his seven-month sentence period. One among the 40 beneficiaries of sentence remission by the jail administration on the occasion of Independence Day, he had not informed his family about his early release thinking it would be a pleasant surprise for them all, worth celebrating.

Way back in 2001, Rajan Kumar – a cab driver by profession -- was passing through a Delhi road when a boy suddenly came in front of his vehicle. “I attempted to avoid the accident, but ended up running over him. The case went on for several years and finally the court awarded a sentence of seven months,” said the father of two teenaged daughters.

Among those released were Anil Thapa (30) and Prakash (41), who said they initially had little inkling as to why they had been arrested. “I was crossing the railway tracks when I was taken into custody and produced before a court that sent me behind bars for 14 days,” said Anil Thapa, a resident of Shahdara, who works at an eatery. Prakash met a similar fate after he was arrested while crossing the railway tracks in Shakur Basti.

For 65-year-old Roshan Singh, who manages an iron-bar manufacturing unit, it was the second trip to Tihar Central Jail. However, he claims this time he was sent packing to Tihar for no fault of his. “I had stood surety for the bail of a worker who was booked in a house theft case. However, he jumped bail owing to which a fine of Rs.10,000 was imposed. I did not have the money and therefore, I was sent to jail,” he said, adding that he was earlier arrested in a breach-of-peace case way back in 1968. The jail authorities said he was also allegedly involved in attempt to commit culpable homicide.

Two of the inmates released from Jail No. 5 had been convicted for drunken driving. “Under the influence of alcohol I was driving a vehicle when cops intercepted me. The breath-analyser confirmed alcohol content in me. I also did not have the vehicle papers. They produced me before a city court that sentenced me to 10 days. I will never touch liquor again or indulge in any crime. Under no circumstances, I want to be back here again,” said a relieved Pramod.

Arun Kumar, who said he had spent six months at a rehabilitation centre to get rid of alcohol addiction, said: “I again got into the same habit and have ultimately paid for that. Once out of prison, I will consult a counsellor.”

For a 71-year-old retired Indian Administrative Service officer, who was convicted for paying bribe to a Central Bureau of Investigation inspector way back in 1996, an early release did not mean much as he claimed that he was framed in the case. “I had done nothing wrong, but was implicated for offering bribe to the CBI official. The court sentenced me to six months’ imprisonment, due to which my pension has been stopped,” he said, refusing to divulge his identity.

On the occasion of Independence Day celebrations this year, Director-General (Prisons) Vimlaa Mehra through an order remitted 15 days for those sentenced up to one year, 30 days for people sentenced from one to five years and 45 days for those sentenced for over five years. “This apart, the convicts labouring inside the prison earn two days of remission per month. Those engaged in the community kitchen operations get five days and the inmates who take up cleaning work earn seven days a month.”

Addressing the jail officials, the Director-General (Prisons) said an FM radio has recently been set up in Jail No.4 for the inmates. The jail administration plans to introduce the facility in other jails we well.

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