April 29, 2021 10:36:16 am
Three prisoners, including one, sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2010 in connection with the murder of a woman in 2009 in West London and who was shifted to India in November 2018 from United Kingdom, escaped from Patiala Central Jail late Tuesday night.
The prisoners escaped when there was night curfew in place, and on a day when Punjab government increased the curfew timings from 6 pm to 5 am which earlier was 8 pm to 5 am.
Sher Singh (about 30 years of age), who was in 2010 sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder of Geeta Aulakh after she sought divorce from her husband Harpreet Aulakh, who orchestrated the killing and was also deported to India.
28-year-old Geeta, who worked as a receptionist with a radio station in UK was hacked to death as she went to pick her two sons after work. She died of severe head injuries. Her right hand was also severed.
The other two prisoners who escaped were identified as Jaspreet Singh, who was an undertrial in a murder case and Inderjit Singh, who was a convict in a murder case.
While escaping from the jail, the trio first broke the wall of the cell they were lodged in, scaled around ten feet inner wall and subsequently scaled 14 feet peripheral wall.
The jail authorities came to know about the escape during count of prisoners in the wee hours on Wednesday.
A perusal of CCTV footage, The Indian Express has learnt, showed the trio climbing the inner wall at 11:29 pm. The footage, an official said, showed that the trio, one by one placed their feet on shoulders to first reach the top of the wall and then pulled each above to escape.
Punjab Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) P K Sinha said that while their act of climbing the inner wall was captured on CCTV, it was not clear how they managed to scale the 14 feet high peripheral wall of the jail.
In between the inner and peripheral wall, there are agricultural fields and jail factories in the sprawling 110 acres of jail premises.
During the day, nearly hundred police and jails personnel frantically searched the area between inner and outer wall, albeit unsuccessfully, hoping that the trio might have hid themselves somewhere in the area.
Sinha said a probe had been instituted and would be headed by a DIG rank officer.
Sinha added, the jail was an “old one” having ‘structural issues like lighting” and others. He also said that the inquiry committee would also look into protocols relating to handing over the prisoners into the barracks.
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