After spending several years holed up at the Warangal Central Jail in Telangana, 53-year-old Arshad Muhammed stepped out of the prison on Saturday, on his way to becoming a free man.
The Pakistani national is all set to go home in an exchange of prisoners at the Wagah border that is scheduled for August 22.
Warangal jail superintendent M Sampath told PTI, "The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued orders asking the Police to hand him over at the Wagah Border."
Arshad was arrested in 2009 after he allegedly took photos of sensitive defence establishments in Hyderabad.
According to reports, he was nabbed from an internet centre in the city and was found to be in possession of several such pictures.
A court on April 30, 2009, convicted Arshad, a businessman from Pakistan's Jethabhuta Bazar in Raheem Yar Khan district of Punjab, under the Foreigners Act and the section 3 of Official Secrets Act ('penalties for spying'), and sentenced him to 14 years' rigorous imprisonment, it was earlier reported.
He was due to be released in August 2016, after getting remission, but could not be released as documents were awaited from the Pakistan government.
Therefore, the Hyderabad Police Commissioner requested the state Government and issued necessary orders to 'detain' him at the prison itself, until further formalities were completed.
Following this, Arshad appealed to Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to expedite his release.
The Times of India reported that Telangana DG prisons VK Singh pursued his case with the MEA. He was not treated as a convict as he had completed his jail term.
Speaking to media persons after his release, Arshad said, "I have no complaint against them (jail authorities). I am dying to meet my family members. I was supposed to be released last year. I was forced to spend another year in the prison unnecessarily. The authorities could have completed all the formalities as soon as they received the court order."