Salim Zarda, who was awarded death penalty in the Godhra train burning case, jumped parole leading the Vadodara Central jail to sound an alert. Zarda, who was among the 11 sentenced to death in the February 27, 2002 Sabarmati express carnage case in which 59 persons were burnt to death, had got parole from the Gujarat High Court on the ground that he needed to be present at home in Godhra to build the collapsed roof of his house. The 15-day parole ended Tuesday.
Another convict Bilal Abdulla Badam who is serving a life term in the same case, was attacked when on parole to attend the funeral rites of his mother. His parole ends November 21.
Vadodara central jail authorities said that Zarda was required to turn up by Tuesday after his parole term ended but did not show up and hence they have alerted Godhra police as well as railway police to arrest him and bring him back.
“He was supposed to be back by Tuesday. Now, he has jumped his parole so we have written to Godhra SP and railway police to look out for him and bring him back to the jail,” a jail official said.
The lawyer who had moved his parole request before the high court, Deepak Sindhi, said that Zarda was granted parole after a government official stood as his guarantor. He had also deposited a security money of Rs 1 lakh before the court.
“Zarda had sought parole on the ground that he was required to be present during the construction of his ancestral house where his family lives. I am not aware if he has moved request for extension of his parole. If the court grants him extension, the jail authorities may come to know about it only after a few days,” Sindhi said.
Badam had sought a 15-day parole after his mother passed away and was required to surrender before the jail on November 21. He had sought another week-long extension of his parole from the high court. According to the FIR, Badam was on Tuesday night attacked by three persons, one identified as Mohsin Mamji, who tried to loot his motorcycle.
The incident took place at around 11:30 in the night when Badam was at the house of his in-laws at Bhukri Palot locality. Three persons barged into their house and started asking for the keys of his motorcycle. When he refused, they attacked him with sharp weapon and injured his hand. He is currently undergoing treatment at Godhra civil hospital.
A special court had awarded death sentence to eleven convicts in March 2011 and awarded life imprisonment to twenty-one others while 63 accused were released. A convict, Shaukat Patadia died in 2012 while serving life imprisonment, while four other accused were granted permanent bail in 2013.
Remaining convicts are lodged in Vadodara central jail.