An escape made easy by 'inept, willing' prison staff

Glaring flaws helped Shanker's bid

 The absolute lack of proper security measures, a flawed design of the jail and suspected inside help are believed to have steered M Jaishanker alias Shanker to success in his mission to escape the Central Prison at Parappana Agrahara in the early hours of Sunday.

Shanker’s meticulously planned and flawlessly-executed escape has not only embarrassed the Prisons Department but also brought into focus the flaws in the engineering plans of jail buildings in the State.

“There are no CCTV cameras in any corner of the jail compound, making it difficult for us to focus on suspicious movements,” an Assistant Superintendent of Police with the Prisons Department, told Deccan Herald on condition of anonymity.

“The jail can accommodate only 2,100 prisoners but the current strength is more than 4,600. We simply cannot reconstruct how the escape happened in the absence of CCTV footage.”

Further, there are search lights on the walls. Several electric poles, connected with wires to carry electricity, are rendered useless by frequent power disruptions.

“Nobody knows the source of disruption — whether there is some fault in the poles, wires or in the electrical system. Shankar jumped down a stretch whose electricity poles and wires have no power,” he added.

Parappana Agrahara police sub inspector, Manjunath, said the construction of a structure close to the hospital where Shanker was lodged might have tempted him to think about the escape. He might have made the plan about seven months ago but waited for the roof to be laid so that his escape became easy, Manjunath added.

The engineers who designed the structure failed in two aspects. First, they designed the construction of a 20-foot wall, connecting it with the 30-foot outside compound wall. Second, they designed the construction of a structure attaching it to the 20-foot wall. Shanker noticed such flaws and identified locations to climb up and down.

He went atop the under-construction structure, climbed the wall inside the compound and reached the compound wall from where he had an easy escape, the sub inspector explained.

Inside help

The prisons department higher-ups are simply clueless about how Shanker got a duplicate key. It is the duty of warders, head warders and chief warders to ensure duplicate keys are safe. The original key should have been used in duplication.

Shanker must have lured a few insiders with “lucrative offers” into giving him a duplicate key. A departmental inquiry would probe this angel in particular, a senior officer said.

It is said that Shanker used a pair of hand gloves, commonly used by doctors, and was also seen wearing police uniform. “We are aware of such claims and are verifying them. There will always be some movement in the hospital as prisoners keep coming in for treatment. He must have diverted the attention of the hospital staff and sneaked out,” the sub inspector added.

The DIG (Prisons), Vishwanathaiah, will head the internal inquiry committee and is expected to submit a report within a week.

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