Chennai: All those who are in prison are not thieves. This was proved at the Freedom Filling Station – an Indian Oil Corporation petrol bunk – run by prisoners in Pudukkottai district in Tamil Nadu.
In a reel life turned real, two prisoners who were on night duty on Nov 10 found a bag that was left behind by a two-wheeler rider after filling up the fuel.
To their surprise and shock, they found whopping Rs 1.74 lakh in cash, a cell phone some other papers.
No, Muthukumar (a murder convict) and Karthik (convicted for thieving) were not tempted to pocket the cash.
On the other hand, the two convicts took the bag to their superior at the bunk and handed over the bag.
Narrating the incident L. Mariadas, Chief Head Warden who is on deputation at the bunk told IANS: “The two prisoners brought the bag to their superior. A call was made to a number saved in the cell phone who confirmed that he knew one of the person who were on the two wheeler.
Meanwhile, the two youngsters who had filled petrol at the bunk and left the bag returned.
“They were told to count the cash and check other contents. We had also informed our superiors. We told the youth to come the next day and collect the bag. The next day they came and collected their belongings,” Mariadas said.
There are about 17 prisoners who work in the Freedom Filling Station, an initiative of the Tamil Nadu Prisons Department, who work in three shifts.
“The prisoners who work here are long sentence servers convicted for murders and other crimes generally done in a fit of anger or other emotions,” said Vijayakumar, a retired police official also working in the bunk.
“All the prisoners are of good nature and have earned goodwill of the customers. This is not the first time cash was returned to our customers. Several times we have returned cash amounting Rs 4,000, Rs 5,000, ATM cards and other items,” Vijayakumar said.
Both agreed that it was something like the MGR (M.G. Ramachandran) starred Tamil movie ‘Pallaandu Vazhgha’ and the 1957 Hindi movie ‘Do Aankhen Barah Haath’.
An Indian Oil official told IANS that the prisoners have earned the goodwill of the customers. They are all good is the general feedback about the workers in the petrol bunk.