A man serving life sentence at the Sampoornanand Open Jail in Sitarganj gave prison authorities the slip when he was taken to a field for agricultural work on Friday afternoon.
Sushil Shil, 46, was serving life in prison for murdering his wife at Baikunthpur in 2005. He had been shifted to Sampoornanand Open Jail – a unique prison where inmates are kept in an open environment instead of a high-security enclosure – from Haridwar Jail in July 2015.
He was taken to a sugarcane field in Lalarkhas along with 14 prisoners on Friday. When Shil asked prison authorities for permission to answer nature’s call, he was taken to the edge of a dry river by rifleman Pratap Singh. He crouched behind a rock, and Singh stood guard – looking the other way to give him some privacy.
That was when Shil made his escape. By the time Singh noticed his disappearance, it was already too late. Police searched the entire area in vain.
The jail superintendent has lodged a case with the SIDCUL police station at Sitarganj, and a massive manhunt has been launched. Police visited his residence in Baikunthpur, only to find that he hadn’t come there. However, Shil’s son and daughter said they would inform police if he turns up.
At present, the Sampoornanand Open Jail houses 49 inmates.