Other States

Mentally unstable youth from Andhra Pradesh lands in Odisha jail

A youth said to be mentallly unstable reportedly escaped from a hospital in Andhra Pradesh during treatment, landed in an Odisha jail and underwent six months of imprisonment before being released on bail.

S. Paiti Raju, 27, would have been in jail for a few more years, had Superintendent of Balangir circle jail not noticed his abnormal behaviour and taken steps for his expeditious release.

On January 5, 2022, Balangir police spotted Mr. Raju sleeping inside an ATM kiosk and picked him up. During that period, the district police were facing a spate of theft cases. The youth did not know any language other than Telugu. The local police allegedly made no efforts to arrange a translator to verify details about him.

“The youth was booked under Section 379 of IPC and accused of damaging the screen of the ATM. Though police claimed to have possessed video footage of him damaging the screen, it was not produced in the court. He was remanded to judicial custody,” said Tusharkant Mohapatra, who was appointed State defence counsel (SDC) for the victim.

Mr. Mohapatra said, “the youth had no idea as to why he was lodged in the jail. Firstly he had an unstable mind and secondly, he could not communicate in the local language. Balangir jail authorities detected his abnormal behaviour. Recently, three persons hailing from Ganjam district were transferred to Balangir jail. They knew Telugu and found out from him the incidents leading to his arrest. The Balangir Jail Superintendent took the help of Visakhapatnam jail authorities and found out his address.”

According to Balangir Jail Superintendent, Mr. Raju’s family members had performed rituals associated with death following his prolonged absence.

“Since the accused hails from another State, no lawyer came forward to defend him and to secure his bail. Since I know Telugu, the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Balangir, appointed me as SDC,” said Mr. Mohapatra.

Seikh Madina, a relative of Mr. Raju , said, “sleeping in an ATM counter is no ground to present a person as thief. The police should have arranged a Telugu-speaking person and ascertained the fact.”

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 7:35:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mentally-unstable-youth-from-andhra-pradesh-lands-in-odisha-jail/article65543423.ece