A day after Afzal Usmani, suspected Indian Mujahideen operative and accused in the 2008 Gujarat blast case, escaped from a sessions court in Mumbai taking advantage of inadequate security cover, Mumbai police launched a massive manhunt on Saturday with both the Mumbai crime branch and the ATS joining in.
Though 10 policemen of Navi Mumbai police escorted eight of the 21 hardcore criminals brought from Taloja prison, they did not inform their counterparts in Mumbai about the same.
“We were not in the loop or else we would have provided additional security,” said Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police, south region.
An advocate who did not want to be named, however, said, “The fifth floor of the new building and the third floor of the old building in the sessions court are connected. Generally, the corridors are packed with family members of the accused and the situation is chaotic. And if the escort does not watch the accused, he can easily take advantage of the disorder like Usmani did.”
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (Crime) said that officers who are familiar with the case and were instrumental in arresting Usmani in 2008 have been pressed into service. Officials said they were tapping their informers and searching places Usmani frequented.