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Since 1st March, 1999
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First jail lok adalat frees seven prisoners

Berhampur, Dec. 23: Prakash Mrudangia, a resident of this town, had been languishing in the Circle Jail here for a year even since his arrest in connection with a case of rickshaw theft. He was arrested under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code on November last year.

His case was pending before the court and he was prepared to spend a long time in jail as he did not even have the money to secure a bail. But, he was able to walk out of the jail today by confessing his guilt and begging apologies as the first lok adalat was conducted in the Circle Jail here today.

I asked a lawyer to represent me, but he asked for money. I did not have the money. Thus I had been languishing in jail for about one year. Then on the advice of a jail officer, I confessed my mistake at the lok adalat and swore that I will never commit the crime again. Now, they have set me free, Mrudangia said.

Chief judicial magistrate Khirod Kumar Das, sub-divisional judicial magistrate Bibaswat Gautam and secretary of district legal aid cell Pratap Kumar Patra disposed of the cases at the special lok adalat session that was conducted in the Circle Jail here today.

Mrudangia was one of the seven persons who have been released from the jail today after they pleaded guilty to their crimes and sought apologies.

The other six under-trial prisoners who were released from the jail this evening include Sudam Sahu, Simanchal Nayak, Seikh Lalu, Prakash Jena, Bhaskar Pradhan and Durga Madhab Sahu, said prison welfare officer of Berhampur Circle Jail Bijaya Chandra Rath.

All of them were arrested under Section 379 of the penal code and were first-time offenders. They had been languishing in the jail for seven months to two years.