The campaign by human rights groups for the release of Pakistani doctor Mohammed Khalil Chisty, serving life sentence in the Ajmer Central Jail, got a boost with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot clearing his mercy petition at the weekend.

The condition of the 78-year-old virologist from Karachi, who was involved in an unfortunate fracas among the Chisty family members on the Ajmer Dargah premises 19 years ago leading to a murder, is said to be precarious with symptoms of palsy and a hip bone fracture.

The petition from the groups, led by eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar and filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, appears to be in its final stage as activists of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), along with Dr. Chisty's brother Jamil Chisty, have got all the other clearances from the district and the Rajasthan Government, including No Objection Certificates and the character certificate.

The petition, which was submitted to the Rajasthan Home Secretary on April 20, has already gone through the offices of the Chief Secretary, the Home Minister, and finally the Chief Minister.

Both Mr.Nayar and Mr.Bhatt have appealed to President Pratibha Patil for amnesty in Dr. Chisty's case. Mr.Nayar spoke on the phone to Mr.Gehlot on Friday, asking him to expedite action. Soon after, Mr.Gehlot cleared the file and sent it to the Raj Bhawan.

Only the other day did Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju make an appeal in his individual capacity to the Prime Minister for the release