The escape of three undertrials from police custody near Maisar Khana in Bathinda district,on Thursday evening,has raised several questions regarding slack implementation of procedures that are to be followed when transporting undertrials and material that can be made available to jail inmates.
In Thursdays case,the undertrials asked the personnel to stop the vehicle so that they could buy grocery. Once back in van,they threw chilli powder into the eyes of the officers,snatched their service weapons and used them to kill a head constable and fled.
As per guidelines of Punjab Police,a van transporting undertrials between court and jail is not allowed to stop during the commute.
In addition,red chilli powder was banned in Punjab Jails after eight undertrials made an abortive attempt to escape from Ludhiana Central Jail by throwing chilli powder at the jail guards.
The police have said there was no need to halt near the crowded Maiser Khana market and that the constables also did not check the grocery items bought by the trio.
Nirmal Singh Dhillon,IG Bathinda range,said: On long routes to court and back,police vans carrying undertrails stop only if a person has to go to the toilet,otherwise instructions are not to stop the van anywhere in between. He said the police personnel were being questioned as to why the vehicle was stopped.
Meanwhile,the police have not ruled out involvement of accomplices in the escape as the undertrials could not have been on foot with service rifles without being noticed.
The three escaped undertrials: Kulwinder,Jaswinder and Nahar have been involved in more than 15 highway robberies,which includes looting of 10 petrol pumps on a single night.
Two of their associates are already out on bail and apprehensions are that the gang has reunited. IG Dhillon,however,said that a number of their associates are still behind bars.