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Centre gives nod to bring 33-year-old Keralite jailed in Maldives to state prison

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Central government has approved the transfer of a Keralite serving life imprisonment in the Maldives to the Poojappura central prison. The transfer, on the request of Harikumar Sadasivan who has served nine years out of a 25-year prison term, was sanctioned after the Union home ministry sought the response of the state government.

The state government replied that they can house the 33-year-old in the Poojappura prison. Harikumar had applied for transfer under the Indo-Maldives agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons which allows convicts to complete the remainder of their prison terms in their country of birth. Hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, he was arrested in 2010 for allegedly smuggling banned drugs to the island nation. He was found guilty by the Criminal Court in 2011.

Since he has completed nine years in the Maafushi prison in the Maldives, he will have to serve the remaining 16 years in the Kerala jail. As per the law, the commutation of a prison term is impossible in the case of transferred convicts. However, for Harikumar, there is a glimmer of hope for a reduced jail term. The state can release him after he has served the maximum prison term prescribed for the crime in the transferred country.

In India, the maximum prison term under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act is 20 years of rigorous imprisonment. So he could walk out of jail 11 years from now, provided the state government consents. “Whether to release him once he completes 20 years is purely the discretion of the government,” a top source said. Harikumar is set to be brought back once flight services between the two countries resume.  “The Ministry of Home Affairs had asked us to depute two police officers to escort him back,” the official said.

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