The ‘secret’ camera in the police bus in which two gangsters were murdered on Tuesday by seven inmates of a rival gang, was not working at the time of the crime, initial probe into the case has shown.
Police sources said the revelation has raised serious questions on the security arranged by the 3rd battalion of Delhi Armed Police (DAP) officers for high-risk prisoners in jail vans to prevent clashes between them while being escorted from jail to court.
They say that “this serious security lapse” points towards a deep-rooted conspiracy in which involvement of anybody cannot be denied — from officers of the escorting team or an ‘insider’ from the 3rd battalion who could have passed on the information about the defunct camera to the inmates who killed the two prisoners.
Most of the police buses that are used to escort prisoners belonging to ‘very, very high risk’ and ‘high-risk categories’ have secret cameras installed in them. These cameras were installed following increasing cases of violence between inmates while being transported between jails and courts.
The footage from these cameras play an important role in ascertaining who started the fight and who all were involved.
In this case, since there is no footage of the incident, the police would find it difficult to establish the sequence of events and know what led to the two murders — Paras alias Goldy and Pradeep alias Bhola, both members of the Neetu Dabodia gang. Among seven who were there in the bus with them include gangsters Neeraj Bawana and Naveen Bali.
On being asked why nine high-risk undertrials were being escorted in a bus with a defunct secret camera, SK Tewari, DCP (3rd battalion) said, “A probe has been ordered into the matter to ascertain why the camera was not functioning and for how long it was defunct. The probe would also help us ascertain if the officials concerned were informed about the non-functioning camera or whether any effort was made to repair it.”
Police sources also pointed out the fact that the contract to install such cameras in buses is given to private companies even as Delhi Police
have given Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) the tender for installing CCTV cameras.
“Now that a case of defunct camera in a police van in which murders have taken place has come to fore, why should the private company concerend be not pulled up for poor maintenance of cameras,” said the source.
An officer, part of the security team, said, “They were all laughing inside the jail. It happened in a fraction of a second. They were kept in an enclosure inside the jail van. Suddenly we saw them jumping on top of one another. Our standard operating procedure says that when such a situation arise, we should open the enclosure only after perimeter of the bus is secure.”
The officer told HT that when he opened the enclosure at the Bhagwan Mahaveer hospital there were more than 50 policemen surrounding the bus. At the hospital, doctors pointed out footmarks on the face and neck of Paras alias Goldy.