The Telegraph
Sunday , February 23 , 2014
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Eight Birsa jail prisoners walk free

Ranchi, Feb. 22: Eight convicts, who were serving life terms at Hotwar’s Birsa Munda Central Jail, today walked free after the Sentence Review Council finally gave the nod to release them on account of good behaviour.

The council, headed by chief minister Hemant Soren, acted after a prod from Jharkhand High Court. The court had sought to know the state’s policy of remitting sentences to allow release of some convicts who have completed 14 years in prison.

Aditya Sahu, Kothar Mahto, Rode Hessa, Surai Tudu, Purna Tudu, Harchan Tudu, Khodar Mahto and Gumdi Banra have served 14 years behind bars.

“Two more convicts — Chaintanya Gope and Bamiya Purti — have also been cleared for release. But they cannot walk free now as they have not deposited Rs 5,000 fine imposed on them by the trial court. If the payment is not made, the duo will have to languish in jail for six more months,” jail superintendent Dilip Kumar Pradhan said.

The eight prisoners who were released today hail from Khunti, Ranchi, East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum. They had applied to the jail authorities for remission of their sentences as they have completed 14 years in jail.

The issue of remission had come to the attention of the high court after prisoners in Palamau, Hazaribagh and Ranchi went on a hunger strike for non-consideration of similar appeals placed by them before the state government. The high court immediately swung into action, directing the authorities to decide on the points of remission of prison terms by the Sentence Review Council.

The council held its meeting on February 7 and short-listed the named of 51 convicts, who are to be released shortly.

“The council is due to receive the recommendation from the respective judges who had convicted the accused,” said a senior jail official.

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