State dept says TADA accused ‘reformed’, cops don’t agree

Rashid Khan

Kolkata Police has opposed shifting of Rashid Khan, 64-year-old TADA accused in the Bowbazar blast clase, from Alipore Central Correctional Home (ACCH) to Lalgola Open Air Correctional Home (LOACH) citing security reasons even though the state correctional services department is of the opinion that the life convict has corrected himself during his prison term.

Khan, who used to run a notorious satta racket during the 80s, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special TADA court on September 1, 2001 in connection with the 16 March, 1993 Bowbazar blast.

He started painting during his confinement at ACCH. He appealed to the state correctional services department to shift him to the recently-inaugurated Lalgola home at Murshidabad district. In a letter to Inspector General (prison) Ranveer Kumar, he wrote that he would teach painting to children of Lalgola, said a senior state government official.

Accordingly, the proposal was placed before a committee dealing with issues relating to prisoners.

In an open air jail, prisoners are allowed to go beyond the boundary fencing and mingle with local people. They are also allowed to stay outside their cells (cottages) from 8 am to 8 pm. Only those, who do not pose any threat to security, are normally kept at open air correctional home. Correctional services department officials consider Khan eligible to stay at the open air correctional home as they do not apprehend any threat from Khan.

"The Kolkata police has raised objection to Khan's appeal. The committee will sit again to take a final call," Kumar told The Indian Express. Asked if still there is any possibility of Khan being shifted to Lalgola home, Kumar said the committee has the right to "overrule" objection of the police.

"The most important issue is whether the prisoner in question has corrected himself or not," Kumar said, adding that the final call on Khan's plea will be taken shortly by the committee.

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