April 11, 2021 2:15:02 am
Six months after his dramatic escape from the Colvale Central Jail through a drainage duct, a man facing trial for raping a British tourist in 2018 was Friday arrested again by the Goa Police.
Ramachandran Yelappa (32) was nabbed in Hoskote near Bangalore after a team of officers from the Goa Police Crime Branch and the Mapusa police station scoured through Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. This was the second time that Yelappa fled from custody after he first made a run in June, 2019 while being ferried to the Margao Court.
While Yelappa was found missing from the jail on September 22, 2020, his jailbreak had remained a mystery to many, including jail officials. However, the police said that on interrogation, Yelappa revealed that he had escaped from the Colvale Jail after carefully planning his escape by scaling a wall and “slithering through the drainage ducts”.
Shobhit Saxena, Superintendent of Police, Crime, said, “He chose a day with heavy rains to camouflage his escape and even stole clothes hanging to dry to avoid detection. Over time, he travelled across Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by doing odd jobs, including driving and working with his old associates, sometimes committing thefts and burglaries. He was careful to not remain in the same place for long and was continuously on the run.”
Sources told The Sunday Express that Yelappa, who worked in the jail mess, scaled the mess wall after he was told that it was going to be his last day working at the mess. During the day’s roll call in the jail on September 22, 2020, he was reported missing. Sources said that Yelappa had hidden in the duct for a couple of days, and stole khaki-coloured clothes from a clothesline so that he is not easily spotted. On a day that there was heavy rain, he used the drainage duct to escape. The duct opens across the road from the jail, sources said.
Over the last fortnight, the team that was on Yelappa’s trail, traveled around the various districts of the three southern states before arresting him in Hoskote. “When we started chasing him, he was in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. From there, he moved to Kolar Gold Field district in Karnataka and then to Hosur, Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu and he was ultimately arrested in Hoskote,” said police inspector Rahul Parab, who led the operation on the ground. “In the middle of Covid-19 and in the middle of elections in Tamil Nadu, we had to chase him,” said Parab.
In 2018, Yelappa was arrested for raping a 42-year-old British woman in Palolem in South Goa. Other than this offence, he was booked for escaping from legal custody in two separate cases and two other offences of house break-ins and thefts in Goa and a case of burglary in Bengaluru.
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