18-foot tunnel unearthed at Sabarmati jail

18-foot tunnel unearthed at Sabarmati jail

Prison break bid

18-foot tunnel unearthed at Sabarmati jail

Authorities at the high-security Sabarmati Central Jail here have averted a jailbreak after they chanced upon an 18-foot-long tunnel on the prison premises, allegedly dug up by some accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts case.

The tunnel came to light on Sunday after a group of policemen on duty at the prison grew suspicious of some inmates who were spotted loitering in the prison garden. Officials said inmates of barrack number four, also known as “chhota chakkar,” dug up the tunnel near a toilet adjacent to the garden.

The tunnel, allegedly dug by the Ahmedabad blast accused, was halfway complete. The barrack houses three engineers who are also accused in the case. The jail authorities said, “Fourteen accused in the case, including these engineers, had been clandestinely at work since one month.”

The tunnel was five feet wide and ran parallel to a drainage.  Prison officials suspected that the inmates got down to digging during the three-hour window allocated for working at the garden, which was close to the barrack number four. They also washed their utensils there.  
The high-security prison houses around 3,700 inmates, 900 more than its capacity.

Prison authorities, however, tried to downplay the incident. “This is a jail made by the Britishers, the walls are 21 feet high and 21 feet deep. Even if they tried to dig a tunnel, it would be impossible,’’ said P C Thakur, IG (prisons).

They added that if any official laxity was found during the course of the investigation, action would be initiated against persons concerned. Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad crime branch has been asked to investigate into the case, even as the authorities were revamping the security in the prison.