July 1, 2016 12:57:52 am
A week after the first report on murder convict Sajjad Mughal jumping parole, the Maharashtra government Thursday suspended former Nashik jail superintendent J S Naik for recommending Mughal’s parole to the divisional commissioner.
The Indian Express had on June 23 reported that Mughal, a building watchman who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Mumbai-based lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha, had jumped parole after being granted relief on the ground of his mother’s illness.
Principal Secretary (Home) Vijay Satbir Singh confirmed the development late Thursday. Following the incident, a report indicting Naik was submitted to the government by Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) B K Upadhyay. The report sought action against Naik for recommending Mughal’s parole application to Divisional Commissioner Eknath Dawle.
On Naik’s suspension, Pallavi’s father Atanu Purkayastha told The Indian Express, “That’s the minimum, he should be dismissed and a criminal case needs to be initiated against him by the state government. But that’s not enough … action also needs to be taken against the Divisional Commissioner, and the rules, procedure for granting needs to be reviewed to leave no room for such faux pas in future.”
Naik was facing a departmental inquiry in a similar case, which was reported by The Indian Express on June 29. In June 2014 and February 2015, he had granted furlough to two convicts serving life term in a terror case. Both did not return to jail on the expiry of their furlough. According to the amended rules of the Maharashtra Prison Rules, terror convicts are barred from getting furlough.
Singh also said that the government was keen on bringing reforms in parole and furlough rules. “The changes will happen within 10 days. It should not take much time if the chief minister okays it,” he said. The senior IAS officer said that the chief minister was privy to developments relating to this case. According to Singh, the police commissioner of Nashik had sent a team of policemen, who were working in tandem with the local police of Baramulla. “It should not take long before they nab him,” Singh said.
Speaking about the inquiry report, B K Upadhyay told The Indian Express that the report on Mughal being on the run had been submitted to the government for further action. “He (Naik) should have not allowed (parole). He should have not made the recommendation.”
Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Rajendra Dhamne had supervised the probe into the incident after Singh had ordered it. Following Naik’s request for parole on June 15, 2015, Dawle granted Mughal parole on Naik’s recommendation on February 24, 2016. Mughal jumped parole after his request for extension was rejected by the jail authorities in March following which a case was filed under Section 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) of the IPC. Mughal, serving life imprisonment, had applied for the relief on the ground of his mother’s illness in less than a year from the day of his conviction on June 30, 2014. When contacted, Dawle said he did not wish to comment on the matter, adding, “It is pending with the government.”
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