Kishori Lal (48), lodged in Tihar Jail since 1996, will soon be a free man. Lal, convicted of multiple murders in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, is serving life term.
Acting on the recommendations of the state Sentence Review Board (SRB), Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Tejendra Khanna recently commuted the sentence of Lal and 14 other life convicts to give them a chance to "reform and rehabilitate themselves", said a jail source.
The jail authorities had recommended Lal to the SRB because of his "excellent conduct as an inmate and the fact that at 48 years of age, he stands a chance to rehabilitate himself," said the source.
Lal and the 14 others need to furnish a surety and personal bond, each, worth Rs 10,000 to be released. The surety and personal bonds are to be submitted to the state revenue department.
Life convicts, who have served a minimum of seven years in the jail, are eligible to get their sentences commuted by the SRB.
The prison's spokesperson Sunil Gupta said, "This must be one of the highest instances of convicts' sentences getting commuted on the SRB's recommendations."
"The SRB includes the chief minister, who is the chairperson of the board, a nominee of the city police chief, a nominee of judicial authorities, chief probation officer and director general of prisons," said Gupta.
The recommendation for commuting a life convict's sentence is sent to the SRB by the jail authorities after procuring approvals from the concerned police and probation authorities.
While Lal has spent around 16 years in jail, 13 others, including a woman, have served between 14 and 20 years and another convict got his sentence commuted as he is suffering from terminal cancer.
Lal, a former butcher who stayed in east Delhi's Trilokpuri, had been accused of stabbing victims in the neighbourhood. He had been sentenced to death seven times by the lower courts. The Supreme Court, later, commuted them to life terms. Lal was among 25 people, convicted by city courts for offences connected to the 1984 riots.