Granted parole for a week to attend his son’s wedding, TADA convict Fazlur Rehman Sufi finally couldn’t go home, despite his relatives making several frantic visits from Mumbai to Jaipur. It was the first instance of a convict under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act being granted parole by the Rajasthan High Court. Sufi, who was convicted for involvement in a series of blasts in trains back in 1993, was last home 17 years ago.
On December 18, a high court bench comprising Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Dinesh Chandra Somani allowed him parole from December 23 to December 30, so that he could attend his son’s wedding on December 26. But Sufi wasn’t able to get a release from Jaipur Central Jail till Saturday, when his parole expired.
“When we first went to the jail on December 20, the administration told us they hadn’t received the compliance order of the parole from the court. We later enquired at the court and came to know that the order was delivered at the jail on December 19,” said Mujahid Ahmad, Sufi’s counsel.
The high court order asked for a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties in the like amount before Sufi could be released. Ahmad said this too was a problem. “First, the jail administration told us on December 23 that we had to bring a local person as a guarantor. Later, we were told that the valuation of property that was being submitted as part of the process had to done by a tehsildar in Mumbai and Jaipur.”
He added that Sufi’s family travelled between Mumbai and Jaipur multiple times to try complete the formalities on time. One day in the middle being December 25, Christmas holiday, they were turned away.
“On December 26, they told us that while it had the signature of the tehsildar, the valuation was six months old and they wanted a current valuation. Relatives from Mumbai brought the required papers the same day and they accepted it,” said Ahmad. But the next day, he claimed, the jail administration rejected the papers saying they wanted to do physical verification of the property.
Mohammed Salim Ansari, a distant cousin of Sufi, said the family was disheartened. “We are extremely disappointed because our brother couldn’t come home for his son’s wedding. More than Rs 85,000 was spent on expenses and air trips from Mumbai to Jaipur, all in vain.”
Rajasthan Additional Director General of Police, Jail, Bhupendra Singh said he wasn’t aware of the matter. “This matter was never brought to my notice. I will enquire about it.”
Ahmad said they were considering approaching the court for legal remedy.