Eight years ago, Ramesh Singh (name changed) had no future to look forward to, having just landed in Delhi’s Tihar Jail on a murder conspiracy conviction. On Tuesday, the 26-year-old was all set to exchange his prison suit for the formal uniform of an assistant manager for the Tajmahal Group of Companies, which runs a chain of restaurants in the city — with an annual salary of Rs 4.2 lakh to boot.
Singh — who came to Tihar as a barely literate labourer but worked his way through school and a bachelor’s degree in social work while behind bars — walked away with the highest salary package at Tihar’s placement drive this year.
“I never thought I could start a career after being accused of a heinous crime like murder, let alone get the highest package. Being able to survive after coming out of jail was my only priority,” Singh told HT in fluent English.
Singh wasn’t the only success story at the placements with 66 inmates being picked, up from 30 last year. Atif Hussain (name changed), convicted on an attempt to murder charge, bagged the second highest package of Rs 3.6 lakh a year from Aariz Media. There were 31 recruiters including the NGOs Vedanta Foundation and People’s Own Foundation and distance education provider Ignou.
Salary offers ranged from Rs 8,000-35,000 per month. Forty-five-year-old Bhim Singh Yadav (name changed), convicted of killing his wife in a fit of rage 14 years ago, went to People’s Own Foundation for Rs 2.4 lakh a year. “I am a post-graduate in chemistry and that one moment of rage spoilt my entire life. Things will never be as they were but at least I have something to look forward to now,” he said.
Tihar introduced the campus placement programme in 2011 for the rehabilitation of prisoners after their release. “The companies are hiring people for various posts, ranging from housekeeping staff to consultants. It is based on qualification, calibre and the requirement of the firm,” said Vimla Mehra, director general (prisons).