Escape of two undertrials raises doubts over jail security

The escape of two undertrials from the district jail on Saturday evening has raised a suspicion over the internal security on the jail premises and privileges available for the inmates.

The undertrials, identified as Ashok alias Babru and Kumar who have escaped, were among the six arrested on charge of selling stolen gold from Hassan in Hiriyadka last June. It is said that the security lapse is obvious as they were engaged in cleaning work while escaping from the jail premises.

The jail is situated in a remote area where a dense forest covers the elevated compound walls of the structure from three sides. The only available option for the fugitive is the front where the main gate of the jail is located. The structure has three entrances and also two well-guarded compound walls. The towered walls make it impossible to climb as they are fenced with iron rods and glass pieces all over, it is said.

A highly placed source told Deccan Herald, “They (the inmates) were watering plants and also cleaning the premises around when the two escaped. About 10-12 inmates were engaged in the work.The major failure is that only one jail staffer keeping an eye on them. Easy escape is ruled out as security was tight at both internal and external gates. There is a huge security lapse,” the source added.

The jail garden comprises banana and papaya plantations on either sides, besides flowering  plants. The women’s barrack is in the front and the remaining barracks are inside the two-storeyed building.

At present, the three barracks of the jail house 128 inmates. Not only this, other issues need to be taken into consideration in this case, it is learnt. The FIR was registered after 24 hours of the incident. The jail superintendent had complained  about the inmates’ escape to Hiriyadka police on Sunday evening. DIG (Prisons), Belagavi, T S Shesha, who is heading the inquiry, during his visit to the jail, has not ruled out foul play in this case. He said that the incident will be probed from all angles.

“Many aspects need a thorough investigation. The inquiry has just begun. The concerned and in-charge officers have been questioned. The major issue is that there is a severe staff crunch. The delay in registering the complaint is also being investigated,” he added.

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