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202 prisoners out on emergency parole fail to surrender

by Raju Vernekar
0 comment 3 minutes read

IT Correspondent
New Delhi, Mar 13:

At least 202 prisoners, out of the 1,184 prisoners released on “emergency parole” last year, to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Delhi jails, have not surrendered even after the parole period has ended, according to official sources.
The absconding prisoners have now been declared “fugitives” and Delhi Police teams across the city are looking for them. In the past two weeks, police have arrested five such persons for street crimes such as robbery, attempted murder, snatching and carrying illegal arms.
As one of the first measures to decongest jails and ensure social distancing at the start of the pandemic, these 1,000-odd prisoners were released on “emergency parole” in April last year. The three jails of Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini collectively hold over 18,000 prisoners, well above their sanctioned strength and a high-powered committee had stressed upon the need to decongest prison complexes.
With COVID-19 cases abating in Delhi, the out-on-parole prisoners were told to start surrendering from February 6, in small batches of 10 or 20. The surrender process ended on March 6 and the prison department checked the records to find at least 202 prisoners missing.
On March 3, absconding prisoner Vinod Yadav — he has more than 31 cases of theft, robbery, and snatching against him — who was out on parole since October 14, was arrested in a robbery case. Police said while on parole, Yadav had committed at least nine instances of snatching. The same afternoon, another prisoner, Kanwaljeet Singh, was arrested with illegal weapons. Three days before that, fugitive Javed (identified by a single name in police records) was arrested for snatching. Javed, who has 10 cases against him, was released on parole in April 2020 but had failed to surrender last month.
A mid-level prison officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “In most cases, we found that their cell phones were switched off or the number they gave for the records is no longer active. In other cases, someone would answer the phone and quickly tell us that we dialled the wrong number. We have sent a message to the local police stations about such persons.”
Prison officers said they have informed police stations from where the prisoners, now fugitives, were first arrested and brought to prison. Director-general, prisons, Sandeep Goel said, “There are around 200 such prisoners who did not surrender. As of now, we have informed police stations, but we will also send a consolidated list to the Delhi Police headquarters. Some prisoners may have genuine reasons for not surrendering. We will look at each case on its merits.”
The punishment for not surrendering after parole includes cancellation of furlough or parole for the next one to three years, depending on the gravity of their offence.
Among those who had failed to surrender and was arrested later was Shamshad, sentenced to life imprisonment in the infamous 2010 Dhaula Kuan gang rape case of a woman. Shamshad was released on parole on April 20, 2020. He had to surrender on February 20, 2021. On February 23, when he was arrested, he was a fugitive for three days, like the 202 others who are now on the run. Delhi Police has said Shamshad, while on parole, had committed at least 12 break-ins at ATM kiosks.

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