The Bombay High Court (HC) has refused to grant parole to Sahebrao Bhintade, an aide of gangster-turned politician Arun Gawli, who was convicted for 2007 murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlakar Jamsandekar in Ghatkopar. He sought parole on the grounds that he was 72-yearsold and owing to the pandemic, the Supreme Court committee had suggested that prisoners above 65 years and suffering from comorbidities should be released on parole.
However, a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar refused to grant him parole as he did not suffer from any comorbidities as per his medical reports. “We do not find any exceptional or extraordinary circumstance to direct the release of the petitioner on emergency parole,” said the judges. In the past too, Bhintade’s plea was turned down by the jail authorities.
During the pandemic, the High Powered Committee (HPC) set up by the Supreme Court had framed guidelines to decongest prisons with a view to curb the spread of the virus. Bhintade’s advocate Madhavi Ayyappan argued that the Supreme Court had said jail authorities should consider the cases of such prisoners.
However, public prosecutor Aruna Pai opposed this, saying considering the gravity of the offences, the authorities have refused to release him on parole. She pointed out to Rule 19(1)(C)(ii) which disentitles the prisoner convicted for the economic offences and the offences punishable under special enactments like MCOCA from being released on parole. Pai also submitted medical certificates issued by the doctor attached with the Kolhapur Central Prison where Bhintade is currently lodged. The medical officer certified that he was not suffering from any chronic illness. The judges observed the HPC had also “reiterated in emphatic terms” that the prison guidelines determining the categories of prisoners to be released on interim bail or emergency parole will continue to operate.