May 11, 2021 5:13:50 am
A jail official on Monday said the Uttar Pradesh prison department was regularly writing to district police forces seeking help to catch 275 convicts who were among those released last year to decongest jails during the Covid-19 first wave. The prisoners did not return despite the government discontinuing their parole over five months ago.
The state government released 2,256 convicts last April and May, initially for eight weeks, following the Supreme Court’s directive to decongest prisons. Before their release, jail officials collected an undertaking in which each prisoner mentioned several details, including the address where they could be found.
A senior jail official said, “Superintendents of jails are regularly writing to local police, seeking their help to catch the convicts who have not returned even after their parole period finished.”
Last month, on April 30, a high-powered committee constituted in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directions asked the state government to again consider releasing convicts not facing serious offences. The committee directed that prisoners facing trials in criminal cases in which the maximum sentence is seven years might be released on interim bail for 60 days by the appropriate court after examining the cases. The prisoners would have to pay a personal bond and submit an undertaking that they would surrender before the court after the expiry of the interim bail period, the committee added.
“As per our record, as many as 1,750 undertrials have been released on interim bail so far this month,” said a senior prison official.
The police are regularly visiting the addresses that the convicts mentioned in their undertakings before leaving jail.
Last year, the state government thrice extended the parole of the 2,256 convicts who were released. The prisoners started returning following a directive from the state administration in November. During verification, jail officials found that 179 prisoners had been released after their jail term got over while nine had died. The officials said 58 were jailed in other cases.
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