Suhaib Ilyasi: “I Lost 18 Years of My Life For A Crime I Did Not Commit.”

He hosted Indian television’s first and most popular crime-investigation show India’s Most Wanted. Suhaib Ilyasi had it all. Then one dark night he lost it all. His wife died of multiple stab wounds. Ilyasi was accused of murdering her and was eventually sentenced to life imprisonment.

In a startling turn-around, the Delhi High Court earlier this week declared Ilyasi not guilty.

 Understandably Ilyasi is pinching himself in disbelief.

“I have been saying for  18 years  that I am innocent. Now  the honourable  court has  also said it. There  is no compensation  for the time, energy, selfesteem and  selfconfidence, not to mention my career, that I’ve lost in these 18 years . I  am  only grateful to God and  the Judiciary for finally believing  in  my  innocence,” says a  discernibly shaken Ilyasi .

“It’s yet to sink  in that I’m a free man  now, that Tihar jail is no  longer home, that I am in my real home with my daughterAaliya , talking to  you. I used  to dream about this freedom in jail. I feel this is a  dream,” Ilyasi’s voice  quivers with  emotion.

 What has  his life been like during these 18 years? “In one word? Hell. Only the  thought that I would one  day be reunited with my daughter kept me  going.And of course I gained a lot of strength in  jail from reading the Upanishads and  theBhagvat Gita.I have studied and understood the teachings  of  these  two scriptures  thoroughly.And now I want to make the  Upanishads and  the Bhagvat Gita as accessible  to  the  average citizen  of this  country  as they’ve become to me.”

Working  on reader-friendly translations  of the Upanishads and  the Bhagvat Gita is one of the projects that Ilyasi will now take  up. The  other  is the revival of his show.

Sighs  Ilyasi, “I am aware  that many  crime-investigative shows have come up in the past years.  But I need  to revive my show.Earlier  it was not possible, because from being the man who  cracked criminal cases  from across the country, I became  a  crime accused. I want to restart my show India’s  Most Wanted  to tell the stories of  the inmates that I met at Tihar. Some of them have killed multiple times. But their eyes tell  a different story. I want to go deep into the motivations of  crime. The law only sees  things in  black and white. There are so many grey areas in an act of crime. I want to revive my show to tell the untold stories of  those charged with murder.”

 Ilyasi admits  the  world has changed  during the 18 years that he fought  to prove his innocence.  “I cannot get back the time I lost. But I want to  utilize every moment  that  I have left on this earth  to do the work that I left incomplete when  fate snatched away  my freedom. Today I am free not just  physically but also emotionally and spiritually, thanks  to  the judiciary.”

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