The inquiry ordered into the security lapse at Taloja central jail in Navi Mumbai, which allowed an inmate to smuggle a firearm inside and shoot at gangster Abu Salem, has not proceeded satisfactorily as the attacker Devendra Jagtap, alias JD, keeps changing his statement about when and how the weapon was smuggled in, the police said.
This may give the police a reason to absolve its constables of blame. “The constables suspended earlier may not be found to be negligent,” an official said, on condition of anonymity.
While four jail officials, including a jailor, were suspended immediately, an inquiry was ordered to determine who was responsible for the security lapse that allowed the attack to take place.
Meeran Borwankar, additional director general of police, prisons, is conducting the inquiry.
“In his statement to jail officials immediately after the incident, Jagtap said he procured the firearm at court, where he had gone for a hearing, on the day of the attack,” a senior jail official said.
“But he has told the Navi Mumbai crime branch [it is investigating the incident] that the firearm was smuggled in two months before the incident and was hidden in the jail premises.”
If the firearm was smuggled two months ago, the constables suspended for not frisking him on the day of the incident are not at fault, the official said.
“They were suspended under the assumption that he brought in the firearm on the same day of the incident.”
Borwankar said Jagtap’s changing statements had delayed the inquiry.
“Jagtap has kept changing his statement about how the firearm was smuggled inside the jail premises. I want to be sure before deciding on any action,” she said.