A 26-year-old undertrial prisoner escaped from police custody after jumping off a moving train in Agra early Wednesday morning. Police said the prisoner escaped when six police personnel accompanying him were sleeping in the train during their return from a court hearing in Hyderabad.
According to police, the prisoner, Salman alias Daant Tuta, a resident of Bhajanpura, is a class VI dropout. Police said he was involved in snatching incidents in Hyderabad, and avoided detection by travelling in flights.
“In 2017, he was arrested by the North East district police when they came to know that he was wanted by Hyderabad and Cyberabad police for his alleged involvement in several snatching incidents. He carried a Rs 1 lakh reward for his arrest in UP, and was evading arrest in a MCOCA case registered against him by Delhi police,” a senior officer said.
DCP (3rd battalion) D K S Singh said, “Salman was taken to Hyderabad to attend a court hearing on June 10. While returning, he escaped as cops escorting him slept. We have filed an FIR in Agra and will probe the cops’ role after an inquiry.” Sources said the six cops, including a head constable and five constables, were sleeping when he sought permission to go to the washroom. “They allegedly allowed him to go alone. He then jumped off the moving train… Police came to know about the escape when he did not return after around 20 minutes,” police sources said.
“Last month, shots were fired at his house. We feel this may have prompted his escape,” a senior police officer said.
According to police, Salman started committing burglaries in 2003 and formed a gang in 2010. He was involved in around 30 cases of snatching and had been evading arrest since 2015. His associates were arrested and after a while, the hunt for him lost steam.
Things changed in 2017 when a police personnel, posted with anti-auto theft squad (AATS), saw CCTV footage in the ‘National Police Group’ on Telegram app. The footage was shared by Hyderabad Police, which sought help from other forces. “The accused had allegedly committed four snatching offences in Hyderabad in one day,” an officer said. The AATS official then approached the Hyderabad police and re-opened old files.