New Delhi: Parole applications of two persons serving life imprisonment for having committed rape and other heinous crimes have been rejected by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejendra Khanna.
Harpreet Singh, who had served nine years of his life sentence, had sought parole in order to file a Special Leave Petition. Another convict Duli Chand, who had served over 13 years of his sentence for raping a girl in Delhi, had requested parole to deal with an issue pertaining to his ancestral property.
In both the cases, parole for one month had been recommended by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Ray. But the Lt Governor rejected it in both cases in early December.
When contacted, Chief Secretary DM Spolia said the Chief Minister and the Home Secretary had recommended parole for the two convicts following "favourable inputs" from the Tihar jail authorities.
"Parole recommendations are made after jail authorities observe the conduct of the convicts. It is not made just out of thin air. The Chief Minister and the Home Secretary made the recommendation based on inputs from the jail," Spolia said.
"The rejection of the parole by the Lt Governor should not be seen as a grave difference of opinion. Parole is not bail...Even murderers are given parole. One should not read too much into it," he said.
Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel criticised Dikshit for recommending the parole and accused her of resorting to "tokenism" in addressing the serious issues of women safety in the city.
"On one hand the Chief Minister is talking about women safety and on the other hand she has been recommending parole for rape convicts. This is atrocious. The Government must send a strong message that it will not be lenient towards perpetrators of such crimes," said Goel.
"Dikshit has been talking about women safety. But this is a brazen case of the Chief Minister not being very serious in containing heinous crimes against women," he said.
Goel said Delhi Government has done nothing in the last two-and-half months to ensure a safe environment for women in the city.