First Raipur, and now Raiwala police station in Dehradun has become home for Archit Sharma, 21, who was arrested last year for stealing ornaments from his residence to buy drugs.
Archit, who was sentenced to a year in jail, was released on parole earlier this year amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in Uttarakhand. But his family refused to take him in. Thereafter, the police provided him shelter.
Archit was arrested on June 25, 2019, after his maternal uncle lodged a complaint against him for stealing 120 gm of gold jewellery. He had moved into his uncle’s place with his mother and younger sister in 2013 after the death of his father.
“My friends introduced me to drugs and I had become an addict at 16. The pocket money my mother gave me was not enough to meet my smack demand. So I stole the ornaments of my mother and maternal grandmother. Their price in the market was over 3.5 lakh but I sold them for Rs 2 lakh. My uncle was suspicious due to my addiction. When he beat me up, I confessed. He lodged a police complaint,” Archit said.
Archit was booked under IPC sections 380 (theft in dwelling house) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property). He confessed before the magistrate and was sentenced to one year in imprisonment. He was released on parole in April. “My uncle refused to take me in. My mother is dependent on him and could not help. I slept on the roadside for four nights,” he said.
“One night, he came crying to the police station and said he wanted to change. I allowed him to stay for the night. Next day, I found him helping the staff in distributing food packets to people stranded during the lockdown. I saw hope. I came to know that he was a good student. I asked him what he wanted to do, he said he wanted to complete Class 12 and study law,” said police inspector Amarjeet Singh Rawat.
Rawat said he paid for Archit’s enrollment for the Class 12 exam and provided him books and a room on the police station premises. When Rawat was transferred to Raiwala police station last month, Archit moved with him. The Inspector said Archit has quit his addiction.
Besides studying for the Class 12 exam, Archit has also taken to reading about IPC sections. “When I get free from studies, I enter offices inside the police station and read books on IPC and observe how police work. The staff members treat me like family. I had received similar cooperation in the Raipur police station too,” Archit said.
He said he has also opened a bank account to save the Rs 500 he gets from Inspector Rawat every week as pocket money.
Archit said his family had sent him to Bengaluru, where he cleared his Class 10 boards with 8.8 CGPA. He later returned to Dehradun and got into drugs again. He left home after he got a supplementary in Accounts in his Class 12 exam in 2017, but returned after working in dhabas for two years, he said.
Rawat said he had tried to convince Archit’s family members to take him back, but they had refused. “I was to go back to jail on October 2 to complete the remaining term. But Governor Baby Rani Maurya ji pardoned my remaining term, considering my good conduct in the police station,” Archit said.
Rawat confirmed that Archit’s remaining jail term has been pardoned.
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