Another warden accuses jail authorities of inaction

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Apr 02, 2015 13:11 IST

In another dramatic turn of events in the infamous Burail jailbreak case, a former jail warden, who had earlier turned hostile, has moved the court making startling revelation that “despite having knowledge of suspicious activities of the accused, the jail authorities had failed to shift them from the barrack, thus facilitating jailbreak.”

Former jail warden Ram Meher had moved the court of chief judicial magistrate Anubhav Sharma, seeking permission to re-record his statement in order to “put the records straight.”

He is the second warden to move court alleging that the jail authorities, despite having been aware of the “suspicious activities” of Hawara, Bheora, Tara and Devi Singh, failed to take corrective measures.

In his application written to the court, Ram Mehar said he was made a witness in the Burail jailbreak case, which took place in January 2004. He added the wardens on duty had sensed “suspicious activities” in the barrack number 7, in which Hawara, Bheora, Tara and Devi Singh were lodged.

He had informed jail superintendent DS Rana, deputy jail superintendent DS Sandhu, assistant jail superintendent PS Rana, chakkar hawaldar Nissan Singh and barrack incharge Inderjeet, he said.

“On my information, the barrack was checked but surprisingly, the authorities did not find it necessary to shift the accused from the barrack,” said Ram Meher.

Suspecting the defense counsels of tampering his statement recorded in 2013, whereby he was listed as hostile witness, he said that in order to prove the records straight, he had now approached the court again.

Just a delay tactic: Defense

Strongly opposing the application moved by Mehar, one of the defense counsels, advocate Terminder Singh, said, “This is nothing but a tactic to delay the trail that has been dragging for the past over a decade.”

He said, “The application is not maintainable, as his statement was recorded before the court, thus tempering with the statement can’t be possible.

“He is only trying to cover up the contradictions in his statements. Wardens, including Meher, were negligent in performing their duties and had failed to inform the authorities. Now this application has been moved just to save his skin.”

The case

Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Jagtar Singh Hawara, BKI India operations chief Paramjit Singh Bheora and their two other accomplices - Jagtar Singh Tara and Devi Singh - had escaped from the Burail Jail in January 2004 by digging a tunnel.

Gurdeep and Devi Singh are still absconding. Hawara and Bheora, convicted in the former chief minister Beant Singh assassination case, are presently lodged in the Tihar jail.

Other accused in the case are jail superintendent DS Rana; dismissed deputy jail superintendent DS Sandhu and Ved Mittar Gill; dismissed assistant jail superintendent PS Rana; two former jail warders; two former CRPF constables on guard duty on the day of the incident; and four jail inmates, including Pakistani spy Abid Mehmood, Subeg Singh, Nand Singh and Lakhwinder Singh and Gurnam Singh.

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