The 11 men convicted for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the killing of her family were out of the jail for over a thousand days on parole while serving life sentences, showed a court document.
The convicts were prematurely released earlier this year after the Centre’s approval, the Gujarat government told the Supreme Court, even though the Central Bureau of Investigation and a special court had opposed their release for committing the “heinous” crime.
The home ministry’s clearance came on July 11, within two weeks of the state government seeking its approval, the documents showed. The men walked free on Independence Day, triggering a political storm with opposition barbs directed at the BJP government in Gujarat.
Three petitions challenging the release of the convicts are now being heard by the Supreme Court.
In its affidavit to the Supreme Court, the Gujarat government said the convicts were in jail for 14 years and their behaviour was found to be good.
The CBI last year opposed their premature release stating that they committed an offence that was “heinous, grave and serious”, documents showed.
A special judge had also opposed the release, it showed, as he noted that “the crime was committed only on the ground that the victims belong to a particular religion. In this case, even minor children were not spared.”
“This is worst form of hate crime and crime against the humanity. It affects the conscious of society,” said Special Judge Anand L Yawalkar in a letter to the Superintendent of the Godhra sub-jail in March last year.