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FORMER PRISON officials say better checks in place by the prison authorities could have prevented Sajjad Mughal from jumping parole. Mughal, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014, has not returned to Nashik prison where he was lodged after he was refused extension of parole in February.
“It seems that the prison authorities have not applied their mind in a routine manner. After receiving his application for parole, there should have been multiple checks… and conditions set to ensure he returns to prison even if granted parole,” said a former prison official who did not wish to be named.
He added that though parole is granted to convicts due to an emergency in the family, there should have been a verification too. “Firstly, there should have been a report sought from the Uri police where his (Mughal’s) residence is to check whether the reason given by him of his mother’s illness is genuine. Also, to check whether his family is ready to receive him and take his responsibility,” said the official.
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Another former official said that instead of the surety of
Rs 7,000 given by Mughal’s brother and his father, the jail authorities could have taken surety of a prominent person like a sarpanch from his village or an important functionary, along with a family member.
“Though the condition was set for him to be present before the local police station in Uri, if instead of going there, he absconds, what can they do?” said former prison IG, Surinder Kumar. Kumar said that though there are three steps to process a parole request, the maximum role is that of prison authorities.
After a report is prepared by the Superintendent, it is forwarded to the DIG who then sends it to the divisional commissioner. A senior jail official said they merely do “courier work” when it comes to forwarding applications of inmates. “As per law, we just have to check the record of the inmate in the prison. If he has been behaving well in prison and helping others we mention that in the report. Following this, it is the police report and the divisional commissioner that decides.”
A former jail official, however, said that in sensitive cases, the superintendent can indeed write a “strong letter” along with a report on the behaviour of the inmate. “The superintendent could mention the sensitive nature of the case in which the person is convicted. That could deter the divisional commissioner from accepting the parole application. But to be honest, most superintendents are afraid fearing the court may pull them up for not granting the inmate his rights.”