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Three undertrials, one murder accused and two others facing rape charges, escaped from Modern Central Jail in Kanda, nearly 14 km from Shimla, on Wednesday morning. All prisoners were Nepali nationals.
Two night duty guards have been placed under suspension and an internal inquiry has also been ordered into the jail break.
According to jail staff, the prisoners scaled the jail’s 16-ft outer wall taking support of some construction material, which included some pipes and iron bars lying in the compound. The construction material was dumped in the jail premises for an under-construction block for the prisoners.
“The incident is really unfortunate and serious. We have sounded an alert in the adjoining districts of Solan, Sirmaur to nab the accused. Their photographs have been released and whosoever provides us information about their locations will be rewarded. A case has also been registered at Boileu Ganj police station,” said DGP Somesh Goyal, who is also DG (Prisons).
He admitted that it was a case of sheer negligence on the part of the night duty staff.
Shimla SP Soumya Sambasivan said separate teams have been set-up by police and search was being done in the areas around the jail and also possible spots. “The police is on the job. However, there is no major breakthrough yet,” she said on Wednesday evening.
The list of the prisoners who escaped included Leela Dhar, 22, accused under sections 302, 201 and 34 IPC under FIR no 199/2015 registered in Kullu; Pratap Singh, 27, arrested under sections 376, 377 and 4 of POSCO Act under FIR 13/2016 at Mahila Thana, New Shimla and Prem Bahadur, 22, arrested under sections 363,366 and 376 under FIR no 119/2014 at Rampur (Shimla). Prem Bahadur was taken to Ranpur in connection with hearing of his case on December 1 and later brought back.Barrack no 4, where three prisoners were lodged, has nearly 15 other prisoners. None of them ,however, had any clue at what time exactly these persons escaped. Jail officials said the escape took place between 4 to 4.30 am.
This is the first jail break case from Kanda jail, while earlier on April 17 ,2014 two persons had escaped from Kullu. One prisoner, lodged at Kanda jail, had fled away from Shimla as he was working outside the jail as part of the reforms process. He was later arrested from Goa.
Before this ,there were two other jail break cases at Hamirpur and Mandi in 2017 .Six prisoners had escaped . All eight police persons,who were members of the police SIT in Kotkhai rape case, are also lodged in Kanda jail.
Jail authorities said that it will be difficult to arrest them if they escape to Nepal. “Our teams in Shimla and Solan are on high alert. Let’s hope we nab them soon,” said the DGP.
What police know so far
All prisoners were in the barrack till 10 pm, when last roll call was taken . They left their footwear inside the jail compound while scaling the wall. A steel blade was used by the prisoners to cut-iron bars of the inner gates. Only two duty guards were on night petrol, while a three-layer security is mandated during night.