A little over a fortnight after 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case surrendered at the Godhra sub-jail on January 21 at the end of the stipulated two-week deadline set by the Supreme Court – one of the convicts, Pradip Modhiya, returned to his native village of Randhikpur in Dahod district on a five-day parole granted by Gujarat HC following the death of his father-in-law.
The court of Justice MR Mengdey allowed Modhiya’s parole from February 7 to 11. In his plea, moved on January 31, Modhiya had sought 30-day parole due to his father-in-law’s death. The prosecution had pointed to the HC that as per jail records, Modhiya had “reported back on time” when he was last released on parole and that his conduct in jail was also “reported to be good”.
DSP Vishakha Jain from Limkheda in Dahod said, “The HC has granted parole to the convict and he has returned to his village for five days. As per his parole conditions, he is not required to report to Randhikpur police station… The district police has no role to perform during the parole period. He is expected to return on his own to jail.”
According to details pertaining to the parole and furlough granted to the 11 convicts in the case – submitted by the state government to the SC in an affidavit in October 2022 – Modhiya has been let out on parole for 1,041 and on furlough for another 223 days while he was serving his life sentence in the case since January 2008.
The affidavit also recorded that of the 19 instances when he was let off on parole, he had surrendered late by a day on three occasions.
Modhiya and 10 other life term convicts in the Bilkis Bano case had surrendered at Godhra sub-jail shortly before midnight on January 21, after the SC on January 8 annulled the remission and premature release granted to them by the Gujarat government on August 15, 2022, vide an order dated August 10, 2022.
The Gujarat government had released the convicts as per its 1992 remission policy, based on a May 2022 SC order in a petition filed by one of the convicts, Radheshyam Shah. Bano had challenged the decision before the SC.
The 11 convicts – Radheshyam Shah, Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, Kesar Vohania, Baka Vohania, Raju Soni, Ramesh Chandana, Shailesh Bhatt, Bipin Joshi, Mitesh Bhatt and Pradip Modhiya – had arrived from Singwad in Dahod district to the Godhra sub-jail in Panchmahal in the last hour of their stipulated time awarded by SC.