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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 16:50 GMT
Indian man freed after 38 years
Patto Devi, wife of Jagjivan Ram Yadav
Patto Devi has not seen her husband in 37 years
An Indian man detained without trial for 38 years, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, has been freed on bail by the country's supreme court.

Jagjivan Ram Yadav, was arrested for allegedly killing a neighbour's wife in 1968. He was produced at a court in Faizabad district, but not charged.

His trial was never held as police admitted losing the case records.

A defence lawyer said Mr Yadav, 70, appeared mentally unstable and he was sent to an asylum in Varanasi city.

'Missing records'

Last July, when Mr Yadav was returned to jail from the asylum, prison authorities approached the court seeking a directive on his status as a prisoner.

When the court asked for the case records, the police station where the case was registered in 1968 said they were missing.

A court in Faizabad district then said that Mr Yadav could neither be released on bail nor be acquitted in the absence of the records.

As we did not get any information, we thought he was dead by now
Patto Devi, Jagjivan Ram Yadav's wife

Following this, his case was taken up by the nation's top court.

"We direct that he shall be released on bail forthwith on his furnishing a personal bond," the chief justice of the supreme court, YK Sabharwal, said.

Following extensive coverage of the story by the local media, Mr Yadav's family came to know that he was alive.

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency last week, Mr Yadav's wife, Patto Devi pleaded for his release and said that she has not seen him in 37 years since he was transferred to the mental asylum.

"As we did not get any information, we thought he was dead by now."

Mr Yadav will soon be travelling to his home village in Milkipur.

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