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Man Freed After 6 Months In Jail For Failing To Pay Child Support

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An Indian immigrant who has spent the past six months in jail for failing to pay child support was set free Thursday, by the same judge who had him locked up, after an anonymous lawyer intervened on the man's behalf.

Rohit Bhansali owned a jewelry store on Wabash Avenue, but the business failed, and when he was ordered to pay $1,000-a-month in child support, he claimed that would be 100 percent of his salary.

He didn't pay, and Cook County Judge Veronica Mathein sent him to jail in June for contempt, and said he'd stay there until he paid $8,000.

Bhansali never did pay, but his brother said it was an injustice to send him to jail.

"Unbelievable. America is freedom, justice," he said.


Bhansali already had gone through several lawyers when Mathein ordered him to pay $1,000-a-month in child support to his ex-wife.

On Thursday, an anonymous attorney filed a motion on Bhansali's behalf, challenging the judge's decision to have him locked up, noting Mathein ruled while he was in India. The motion claimed his ex-wife's lawyer knowingly served papers to Bhansali at an old address, and obtained the child support order while Bhansali was out of the country.

Mathein agreed to free him if his family could come up with about $1,200.

Roy Wolf, the attorney for Bhansali's ex-wife, said he doesn't think his client will ever see a dime.

"I don't believe he's ever going to pay child support, because he never did before.

Wolf said he believes Bhansali will flee to India, beyond the reach of American courts.

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