A life convict who failed to return to the Central Prison here after his three-day emergency leave period was apprehended by jail officials at the central bus stand in the city in the early hours on Monday.

Police and prison officials said that R. Saravanan (40) was granted emergency leave by the jail authorities to meet his ailing parents at Woraiyur area in the city.

The condition imposed on him was that he should return on December 14 by 5 p.m. However, Saravanan remained “absent” after the expiry of the emergency leave period, jail authorities said

Instead of returning to prison, he reportedly left for Chennai from where he went to Salem and was said to have remained in touch with his wife here.

He returned to Tiruchi in the early hours of Monday when a jail officials’ team apprehended him at the central bus stand.

A senior prison official said Saravanan had gone on similar emergency leave 34 times in the past 13 years ever since he was lodged in the jail.