Nashik and Nagpur jails goof up: Killer threatens victim's kin after jumping parole

Updated: 05 February, 2018 17:14 IST | Hajra Bi | Mumbai

A murderer jailed in 2014 uses fake documents and allegedly colludes with officials of the same jail from which lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha's killer had also run away

Azam Aslam Butt
Azam Aslam Butt

He should have been locked up for the rest of his life for murdering a man, but instead, he's a free man and is issuing threats to the kin of the deceased. Azam Aslam Butt is on the run from jail for the third time in three years. Each time, he duped jail officials into granting him parole on the basis of forged documents, and every time, he ran. But somehow, the authorities never learnt their lesson. 

Azam Butt is a hardcore criminal who has close to a dozen serious offences registered against him, including forgery, assault and criminal intimidation. On June 21, 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Kashinath Gharat in 2005. Azam was supposed to return Rs 14 lakh to Kashinath, but only returned Rs 10 lakh. When the victim demanded the rest of the money, Azam and his friends killed him in Oshiwara.

Kashinath Gharat's sister Kalpana, mother Parvati and brother Vishwanath are under police protection ever since they received death threats from the accused. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Kashinath Gharat's sister Kalpana, mother Parvati and brother Vishwanath are under police protection ever since they received death threats from the accused. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Fool them once...
Azam was put behind bars at Nashik Road Central Prison. Within three months, he managed to obtain parole. He submitted forged documents to show that his address was in Ambernath, which is under the jurisdiction of the Shivaji Nagar police station, where there were no prior records against him. If the jail officials had reached out to the Oshiwara police, where Azam's murder case was registered, the cops would have told them not to grant him bail.

On September 4, 2014, Azam was granted parole for 30 days, along with an extension of 60 days. After 90 days outside prison, when he did not report back to jail, he was declared absconding. In this period, he also issued death threats to the victim's family. It was only after tremendous media coverage and pressure that he surrendered to the police after 59 days on the run.

Despite the huge controversy over this fiasco, Azam was granted parole yet again on May 31, 2016. Once again, despite knowing that Azam was a master forger, the authorities did not bother to scrutinise the forged address proof he provided. Once again, he extended parole to 90 days, and then spent approximately 29 days on the run before surrendering.

Fool them thrice...
After this, Azam was shifted to Nagpur Central Jail to prevent him from manipulating the system. But he managed to fool the Nagpur officials with the same trick, and left the prison on parole on October 26, 2017. This time, he provided fake address proof that pointed the jail authorities to the Naya Nagar police station while verifying his application. His relief was supposed to end on January 25 (after another 90-day break), but on January 16, he told the authorities that he could not return due to illness. The jail officials said he would have to continue treatment under their custody at a super specialty hospital in Nagpur, but he never returned. He has now been on the run for 10 days – this brings his time outside prison to a staggering 368 days since his conviction.

Death threats
While Azam enjoys life as a free man, the victim's family find themselves locked in prison of fear and anger. The victim's brother, Vishwanath Gharat, recalled how the murderer threatened them the first time he got out of jail. He told the family, "Ek baar ek khoon ke liye umar qaid ho chuki hai, ab aur kya sazaa milegi? (I've already been sentenced to life imprisonment for one murder, what more punishment can they give me?)"

Vishwanath told the police about the threat, and the family was granted police protection, which still continues. The family is amazed that even after the death threat, the authorities still let Azam walk out of prison. "He is a master forger and manipulator. He was shifted to Nagpur jail because he had not only manipulated the personnel at Nashik jail, but was also caught using mobile phones behind bars. We had heard that Azam would apply for parole once again last October, and we informed the Oshiwara police about this almost six months in advance. But they still did not stop him."

Vishwanath also communicated this to the Nagpur jail and Naya Nagar police station on May 18, 2017, to no avail. "We have not celebrated any festivals since my brother was murdered in 2005. It has been almost 12 years now; all I want is that Azam be punished for his sins," said Vishwanath.

Official speak
Yogesh Desai, DIG Prison, said, "The divisional commissioner of Nagpur deals with such cases. But, as per my knowledge, parole may cannot be granted without positive police report."

Anoop Kumar, divisional commissioner, Nagpur, said, "My department deals with parole with utmost scrutinity. We proceed with applications based on the jail's recommendations. Under the new parole policy, prisoners don't get to be out for 90 days."

Shockingly, the Naya Nagar police claim that they had recommended not granting parole to Azam. PI Balaji Pandhre said, "We had reverted to the jail authorities stating that the accused should not be given relief, as he may jump parole."

Azam Butt has dozens of cases against him registered across Mumbai and Goa, including murder, assault and forgery. He has forgery cases registered at Nalasopara, Oshiwara and Kherwadi police stations. Twice, he was booked by the Porvorim and Santacruz police in cheating cases, which included forging three passports.

Rs 4 lakh
Amount over which Azam killed the victim

No. of days Azam has spent out of jail since the sentencing

No. of days he has jumped parole this time

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First Published: 05 February, 2018 17:06 IST

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