A 28-year-old undertrial prisoner was physically assaulted and then strangled to death allegedly by three of his fellow inmates in a moving prisoner transport van in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas on Saturday.
The crime comes four months after two high-risk prisoners — Paras alias Goldy and Pradeep alias Bhola — were killed by their rival gang members inside a jail van in outer Delhi.
Police said the undertrial — lodged in jail number 8 of Tihar jail in an attempt to murder case — was murdered in front of 45 other prisoners who were locked in three separate internal compartments inside the jail van. The incident took place when the prisoners were being transported back to Tihar Jail from Saket court after the day’s court proceedings.
A case of murder has been registered against the three prisoners at the Hauz Khas police station
The deceased, Manoj Kumar, a resident of Ambedkar Nagar, was supposedly beaten up and then strangled. The three attackers were identified as Vishal alias Bunty, Raju and Salman — all residents of Ambedkar Nagar and Madangir.
A senior police officer said Manoj was locked up in the jail van’s inner compartment number 1, while the attackers were in compartment number 2. As the jail van, reached the IIT gate, Manoj somehow broke open the inner compartment’s lock and came out. He then entered into an argument with the three inmates, during which they also managed to break open the lock of their compartment.
“Soon their argument escalated into an ugly fight, during which the three inmates assaulted Manoj and strangled him,” said a senior officer. He added that the jail van in-charge immediately called the police control room.
The police control room alerted the nearest PCR vans and the jail van was escorted to the nearest police station (Hauz Khas).
“At the police station premises, the van was surrounded by armed policemen before the door was opened. The injured prisoner was rushed to AIIMS, where doctors pronounced him dead on admission. The attackers were taken into custody while other prisoners were taken back to the jail in another van,” said the officer.
Deepak Mishra, special CP (law and order), said they were examining the video footage of the jail van to establish the exact sequence of events that led to the undertrial’s murder.