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Freedom delay earns court frown

Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed its criminal section to find out the reason behind the three-month delay in releasing two lifers from jail. The duo was found not guilty by the court after spending 14 years behind bars on a murder charge.

The two lifers, Badal Barui and Shibu Thakur, were convicted by a Burdwan court in 1989 and sentenced to life imprisonment. After14 years of detention in Presidency and Alipore Central jails, their appeal was heard by the high court, which found them not guilty and acquitted them.

A division bench of Justice Amit Talukdar and Justice P.N. Sinha passed the acquittal order on April 9 this year, but the prisoners were not released till early July, reported in Metro, on July 22. They should have been freed soon after the acquittal order.

On Thursday, a petition on behalf of the kin of Badal and Shibu was moved by advocate Tapas Bhanja, seeking penal action against the deputy inspector-general of police (prisons) and other officials responsible for the three-month “unnecessary harassment” of the duo.

The division bench of Justice Talukdar and Justice Sinha directed the high court registrar (administrative) to explain the reason for the delay. The registrar told the court the acquittal order was sent to the DIG (prisons) on April 21. “The delay in sending the order was due to departmental proceedings,” he said.

Bhanja later told Metro he will file a separate petition demanding damages of Rs 15 lakh for the prisoners’ harassment.

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