The main accused in the Kamduni rape and murder case, Ansar Ali, was brutally thrashed in Dum Dum jail, where he has been languishing since July 20.
He has been admitted to RG Kar hospital in a critical condition.
Ali was assaulted by two inmates on Monday evening, moments after his family members had come to meet him.
Jail sources said Ali was often the subject of jibes as rape accused are known to be treated dismally by fellow inmates on jail premises.
“On Monday, Mollah was allegedly assaulted by two inmates inside the correctional home and admitted to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. We are probing the cause of the assault,” said Ranvir Kumar, inspector general of jail.
Ali, along with eight others, is a accused in the rape and murder of a 20-year-old college girl on June 7.
The incident sent shockwaves across the state and propelled a sustained agitation against the state government.
By jail norms, high profile convicts are accorded security cover due to fear of attacks by other inmates. But jail officials said the incident occurred when Ali was returning to his second floor cell by himself and his security personnel were waiting downstairs.
“Ali is lodged in cell number 4 on the second floor. He was returning to his cell on Monday evening after seeing off his family members. It is not clear why his security men were waiting downstairs, but two of the inmates seized the opportunity and attacked him,” said a senior official at Dum Dum jail.
While one of the assaulters choked Ali with a towel around his neck, another repeatedly punched him in the face.
Ali collapsed on the floor senseless as other inmates started screaming to attract the attention of the jail security.
The jail superintendent along with other security personnel immediately rushed to the spot and sprinkled water on Ali’s face to revive his senses.
He was immediately taken to RG Kar hospital, where he is stated to be critical.
Hospital authorities said there were no serious external injuries though there were strangulation marks on his neck.
The jail premises have been tense since the incident and strong security has been put in place.
Jail sources said it is common for rape accused to be isolated by other inmates and forced to do menial jobs.
However, Ali was kept in a special cell in solitary confinement and inmates in neighbouring cells were not known to be friendly with him either.
Ali’s family members claimed he was thrashed by policemen on duty and have even filed a police complaint alleging a conspiracy to kill him in prison.