Good conduct is one of the reasons for the early release of 11 criminals in the Bilkis Bano case, the Gujarat government told the court. Evidence of reality says the opposite.
Allegations against the criminals
While these 11 were out of jail on parole at various times, several allegations were made against them. An FIR has been lodged against both. A police complaint has been filed against the two. Ten of the 11 have violated parole terms. Several have also been punished in jail for breaking the rules. This information is known from the affidavit of the Gujarat government submitted to the Supreme Court. In the case filed in the Supreme Court opposing the release of the criminals, the judges had sent documents to the Gujarat government.
It was seen there that the Union Home Ministry also agreed to release the criminals. But on the grounds of ‘good manners’, the basis on which they were released, the documents submitted by the government raise questions.
For example, Radheshyam Shah and Miteshbhai Bhatt. An FIR was lodged against these two in the Radhikapur police station of Dahod in July 2020. The FIR was filed by Saberaben Patel and Pintubhai. Pintubhai is one of the witnesses in the Bilkis case. They have brought serious allegations like sexual harassment, harassment, and threats of murder.
Statement from the witnesses
Bilkis case witness Mansuri Abdul Razzaq Abdul Majeed has complained to Dahod police in January 2012 against another criminal Shailesh Chimonlal Bhatt. Here too there is an allegation of threats. But there was no FIR.
Ghanchi Adambhai Ismailbhai and Ghanchi Imtiazbhai Yusufbhai-Bilkis are two more witnesses in the case. They filed a complaint with the Dahod police in the name of Govind Nai. Accused of threatening to kill. Still no FIR.
Eleven of the released criminals have spent more than 14 years in jail, the Gujarat government said. But almost all of them received more than a thousand days of parole, the documents show. Not only that, 10 out of 11 have violated parole rules and returned to jail much later than the specified date. Delays of ten days or less are given warnings, sometimes with canteen privileges taken away for a month. In many cases, the benefit of ‘Earned Remission’ has been suspended in case of further delay.
Long-term convicts are eligible for early release in return for discipline in prison. That is called earned remission. In this case, it appears that Rajubhai Babulal Soni lost the benefit of ‘Earned Remission’ by returning 197 days late in 2015. Yashwantbhai Chaturbhai Rawal returned 75 days late, seeking earned remission for 375 days. In other words, these criminals have a history of being punished for breaking the rules even in jail. But they did not stop them from proving their ‘good manners’.
The Supreme Court itself observed the Gujarat government’s affidavit and commented, “Lots of documents. But where is the evidence to support the statement?” Legal experts are also questioning the Gujarat government’s decision to release the Supreme Court.