The lure of easy money and a comfortable life led 30-year-old Pradeep to ditch his job as a mechanic and indulge in a life of crime. Arrested and lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail for the last six years, Pradeep had lost all hope until 15 companies came knocking on the doors of Tihar jail and offered him a job.
Pradeep was among the 30 lucky inmates who, on account of their good behaviour, were shortlisted under the sixth campus selection. Pradeep's original sentence of 10 years was reduced to six years by the Delhi High Court recently. He is expected to be set free Aug 15, 2013.
"I am longing to meet my family and return to a normal life... I've repented my mistake every single day in the last six years," Pradeep, who hails from Haryana, told IANS.
Pradeep, who completed his class 10 and 12 exams while lodged in Tihar, Asia's largest jail complex that has over 12,000 inmates, will get to work for a leading automobile workshop in the capital on a monthly salary of Rs. 10,000.
"Pradeep was selected for the job on April 9, 2013, by a private automobile firm DD FEB. He has also been awarded for his good behaviour by the labour ministry in September 2010 and again in 2012 by the jail authorities," Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta told IANS.
Similarly, Akshay Chauhan, 35, and Kaushal Kishore Gupta, 38, have also got another shot at mending their ways.
Chauhan, who completed his diploma in pharmacy from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) while in Tihar, has got the highest salary package at Rs.300,000 per annum. He would be appointed senior marketing executive at media house Ariz Media Pvt. Ltd.
Hailing from Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly, Chauhan said that for him Tihar wasn't a jail but a correctional home.
"We should not call Tihar a jail, it is a negative thing. We should call it a correctional home," Chauhan told IANS.
Gupta, who has been lodged in Tihar for over two years in a case of attempted murder in west Delhi's Uttam Nagar, has been selected by a private firm and offered Rs.180,000 per annum.
Gupta told IANS that before his arrest in the attempt to murder case he had a hardware shop that his brother now runs.
"I had never expected to get a job opportunity while in jail. Now, I will not have to struggle for a job after being released from jail," Gupta said.
In 2012, Tihar Jail set a record when 142 inmates were selected by private companies, with three of them being offered a package of Rs.360,000 per annum each.
The campus recruitment drive at Tihar Jail is considered the brainchild of former jail official M.K. Dwivedi. It was introduced in February 2010 as part of a rehabilitation programme for prisoners after their release.
Till date, 372 prisoners have been employed by different corporate houses, jail authorities said.