After spending 20 years in prison, Uttar Pradesh man finally walked out of the Agra Central Jail on Wednesday, March 3, as Allahabad High Court pronounced him innocent.
The High Court, in January this year, acquitted Vishnu Tiwari of a rape case after observing that he was wrongly convicted.
He is now 43-year-old and will return to his village in Lalitpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Tiwari said that he had nothing to look forward to after being wrongfully accused and spending two decades in prison. "I have been in jail for 20 years. What should I look forward to? My body is broken, and so is my family. I only have a younger brother. I am not married. Look at my hands; there are blisters from working in the jail kitchen," Tiwari told NDTV.
The amount of ₹600 he received from the jail authorities was all he had with him. Visuals from the jail showed Tiwari walking out of the prison gates with his release order in hand. No one had come to receive him, but he told the media he intended to take a direct bus for home.
Unfortunately, almost all the members of his family have died in these years and he is left with only his younger brother.
Tiwari was arrested on September 16, 2000, and was booked for rape and other charges under the IPC and the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The complaint was filed by a woman from his village, who said that Tiwari assaulted her while returning home from the fields.
At the time, he could not hire good lawyers to fight for his case due to the financial crunch. After having saved enough to fight for his case, he challenged the High Court's verdict five years later, but it did not turn out in his favour.
He was convicted of sexual assault by a district court and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment, and later was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sentences were run concurrently, according to the directions of the trial court.
The Court, while acquitting Tiwari, made strong observations on Tiwari's imprisonment for the extended period pending appeal, referring to sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and stressed that the centre and state had a duty to commute the sentences as mentioned'.
Senior superintendent of Agra Central Jail VK Singh said that Vishnu had plans to open a Dhaba and start afresh.