President commutes death of ‘dead’ man
New Delhi: In what can be described as a mercy gaffe, President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil, on June 2, unknowingly commuted to life the death sentence given to a man who died five years ago.
In 2002, Bandu Baburao Tidke abducted, raped and murdered a 16-year-old school girl after dragging her to his room while posing as a swami of Sadashiva Appana Math, Bagalkot in Karnataka. After the brutal killing of girl, he left the body there and escaped to Shirdi where he was later arrested. Since November 30, 2005, he was lodged in the Hindalga Jail in Belgaum.
In 2005, he was given the death sentence by the Bagalkot district court. In 2006, after found to be HIV positive, Tidke appealed for clemency in the High Court but his plea was rejected. Then, he sent his mercy plea to President Patil.
On October 18, 2007, 31-year-old Tidke died in Belgaum government hospital.
Tidke, a sugarcane cutter from Beed district in Maharashtra, migrated in 2002 to Bagalkot in Karnataka.
But, President Patil was unaware of the fact that the accused, Tidke had died five years ago.
This mercy blunder happened as the President's office was not informed of his death either by the Union Home Ministry or by the Karnataka Home department, according to a newspaper report.
Such carelessness in serious issues has raised doubts as to whether the mercy decisions, on the advice of the Union Home Ministry, are based on correct information or taken in haste.