62-year-old turns up at prison 21 years after jumping parole

A native of Thodupuzha, Thankachan had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 in a murder case.
Central prison and Correctional home at Poojapura in Thiruvananthapuram.
Central prison and Correctional home at Poojapura in Thiruvananthapuram. (File photo | Express)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When a man in his early 60s, accompanied by his son-in-law, arrived at the office of the superintendent of the Poojappura Central Prison on Thursday afternoon, officials thought they were visitors. However, they were in for a shock when the duo informed them of the purpose of the visit. As it turned out, the elderly man, who identified himself as Thankachan, had jumped parole 21 years ago, and had returned to the prison now to surrender!

A native of Thodupuzha, Thankachan had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 in a murder case. After serving three years in jail, he was granted a 30-day ordinary leave from Poojappura prison. The short time he spent outside was enough for Thankachan to make up his mind and abscond, instead of returning to the four walls of the prison.

The turning up of the man, who is 62, caught every prison official by surprise.

“We have seen people, who were absconding for 12 years, being brought back by policemen. This was the first time we saw a man wilfully turning up at the prison, that too after being on the run for 21 years,” said superintendent D Sathyaraj.

‘Thankachan hid identity, worked in Wayanad estates’

According to the prison officials, Thankachan told them that all these years, he had been working in estates in Mananthavady and Sultan Bathery in Wayanad, hiding his identity. Rarely did he visit his relatives in Thodupuzha.

Prison sources said the police had been calling on his family in his search.

“Under pressure, the family might have prompted Thankachan to surrender. Also, he seems to be having some medical issues. He might have thought that he could get free treatment and food in prison,” said an officer. Though Thankachan chose to surrender, he will have to bear the consequences of jumping parole, said an officer. “For the next four to five years, he won’t be getting any parole. After that, maybe considering his age and medical condition, and the fact that he came back on his own, he may get parole. But that’s a long time from now,” said the officer.

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