Firoz Merchant is a Dubai-based Indian jeweller who believes in giving people second chances. Which is why he has already spent ₹20 crore to help free 5,500 prisoners who had been jailed in UAE for petty crimes.
And now he has announced that he intends to do the same for those incarcerated in India, specifically the men and women currently serving time in Maharashtra’s jails for petty crimes.
Firoz is looking to pay fines or foot the expenses of those who do not have the financial freedom to fight their own cases. But a strict rule he follows is that he only helps those who haven’t committed any form of major crimes. That means he will not be supporting anyone convicted of murder, rape or a similar crime.
To this effect, he has put aside a sum of ₹ 7 crore
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In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Firoz notes “When I first expressed my desire to help prisoners, I was asked if I intended to do it for a specific community. But I told them that it is humanity that ranks above everything.”
To that end, he has already met up with S K Shrivasatava, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of Maharashtra, to express his wishes and get permission to go ahead with his plan. He has said that in order to avoid showing any bias, he will trust the judgment of jail authorities to take a call on whom to help with the money that has been earmarked.
B K Upadhyay, Additional Director General, Prisons, has said that the proposal will be verified and then be sent to the home department before it is processed.