Rajasthan Guv seeks details on Chishty`s case

Dr Mohammed Khalil Chishty has been languishing in Ajmer Central Jail since 1992, serving life sentence in a murder case.

Jaipur: A decision on the mercy petition
of 80-year-old Pakistani prisoner Khalil Chishty is likely to
take some time with the Rajasthan Governor Tuesday seeking more
information on the case.

Governor Shivraj Patil held a discussion with
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) P K Deb on the issue and
sought more details and information from the home department.

"Any decision on the mercy petition of Chishty will
take some more time as the Governor has sought additional
information which will be collected and sent back soon,"
sources in the home department said.

The approval of the governor, who has power under
Article 161 of the Constitution to remit a sentence, will pave
the way for release of the Pakistani virologist who is in an
Indian jail since 1992 in a murder case.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had yesterday asked Home
Minister P Chidambaram to examine if the request of a Supreme
Court judge for pardon to Chishty could be considered on
"humanitarian" grounds.

Singh has forwarded to Chidambaram the letter of request
received from Justice Markandeya Katju.

"I shall be grateful if you could examine the request of
Justice Katju to see if a pardon to Dr Khalil Chishty could be
considered on humanitarian grounds," the Prime Minister said
in his letter to Chidambaram.

Justice Katju has made a "personal" appeal to Singh to
release on "humanitarian grounds" Chishty, who is currently
lodged in Ajmer Central Jail.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had forwarded the mercy
petition to Raj Bhawan last week. The petition was submitted
by Chishty`s relatives and human rights activists before the
home department in April with a request that the matter be
dealt with expeditiously as Chishty`s health was failing.

Rights activists had filed the petition requesting
remission of punishment on "humanitarian grounds" for Dr
Khalil under Article 161 of the Constitution of India by the

A sessions court in Ajmer had awarded Chishty life
sentence on January 31 this year in a murder case after an
18-year-long trial. He had also filed an appeal in the High
Court but his bail plea was rejected.

"We are not going to be demoralised by this. We will
continue working for the release and sending back Dr.Chishty
home and meet all concerned and ensure an early release of
him," Kavita Srivastava, General Secretary of PUCL Rajasthan

Chishty had got involved in a fracas during his visit
to Ajmer in 1992 to meet his ailing mother and in the melee
one person was killed leading to his arrest.

During the trial period, the sessions court, which had
granted him bail after few days of the incident, had ordered
Chishty not to leave Ajmer and he was re-arrested after his
conviction and during the bail period, he spent time at his
brother`s farm in Ajmer.