Bhopal: Investigations reveal ‘insider help’ in SIMI terrorists’ jailbreak
While political outcry continues on SIMI terrorists ‘encounter’, investigating officials have indicated that the jailbreak of the eight SIMI activists last Monday was a result not just of lax policing, but of insider help and complicity.
In a report of The Indian Express, a senior police officer has informed anonymously, that the extent of “inside help” involved in the jailbreak was “staggering”. The basic pointers which indicated this to the police are said to be moulds fashioned to match keys to locks, a knife found near a drain and non-functioning CCTV cameras that cover Block B of Bhopal’s central jail, the report added.
Bhupendra Singh, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister, has said it was “impossible to escape without inside collusion” and alleged that the jailbreak was facilitated by “funding from outside”. The report further quoted him as saying, “It must have taken elaborate planning over two to three months because it is not possible to make duplicate keys so early and without help from an insider.”
The senior police officer further informed in the case that the non-functioning of the three CCTV cameras that point to where the undertrials were lodged in Block B indicated foulplay. “There are around 50 cameras in the jail, most of which are working, but these three being off together is far too much of a coincidence. They had been turned off,” he added.
In the report, he further informed that the cameras installed had a residual memory of seven days, but these had been switched off for long enough that there is completed lack of video footage of the area for the week prior to jailbreak. Adding to that, he informed that one of the cameras was brand new and had been put in block B in the light of presence of those accused under the UAPA and terror cases.
The complexity of the case has further heightened with the key moulds found by officers, which had been used by the activists to break out of the barracks. The officer informed that the keys were fashioned out of hard plastic toothbrushes, standard issue for those in jail, as well as sticks.
“So they took off the brush, and were left with a hard stick. But somebody seems to have made the moulds for the keys outside, and given it to them inside. One theory is that they found a way to heat the end of the toothbrush or stick, and fit it into the lock. But that is very hard because the locks to the barracks are not inbuilt, but dangle on latches outside. To get the groove markings, one would have to turn the lock,” the officer said.
With information from another officer, the report added that a knife was found lying next to a drain, near a wall prisoners scaled, when the state government officials reached the jail early in the morning on last Monday.
“There were sharp instruments fashioned from utensils as has been said, but the knife that was found near the drain was a long, standard one. No prisoner is allowed these, and there are meant to be regular checks. The rope itself, fashioned out of bedsheets, must have been 50 feet long. It was trailing on the ground on the other side of the outer 35-feet wall, which they scaled down. They had access to far too much material, and too much work went into this for it to go unseen,” said the officer.
It has been claimed that since the activists attacked and killed head constable Ramashankar Yadav and gagged the other, Chandan Ahirwar, there were no other personnel in their way. “The watch guards were sleeping. Many personnel were on leave because of Diwali, as well,” said the officer.
It is to remind you that the case is of October 31, when eight alleged SIMI terrorists escaped from the jail, and hours after the jailbreak, the eight were gunned down in an encounter in Acharpura about 12 km away. Audio clips have suggested that the police were instructed to “finish them all”, and videos that show personnel shooting at bodies on the ground.
The political debate continues with allegations of opposition on the ‘encounter’ as a result of which, the state government has finally ordered an inquiry into the both the jailbreak and encounter.