Yet a five-member high-level committee constituted by the government to review case-by-case the 1,003 convicts eligible for release, overruled the prisons department’s warning and recommended the release of Maqbool and two of his associates Syed Mukthar and Mirza Kasim Baig without any review. The prisons department had made the same remarks about the other two convicts and similarly highlighted the remarks.
Ajay Mishra, then principal secretary (home), chaired the committee, while the other members were then additional director-general (law and order) A K Khan, then additional director-general (CID) A Sivanarayana, then director-general (prisons) Lokendra Sharma and then secretary to government for legal affairs V Suri Appa Rao.
The documents, accessed through RTI Act, confirmed that remissions were based on a few criteria laid down by the state government and did not include seeking conduct certificates of these prisoners. The conditions laid down by the state government divided the 1003 eligible convicts into different categories: life convicts eligible as per guidelines, those whose cases required further review, convicts in whose case legal opinion was required and those who had killed public servants. Maqbool was in the second category.