Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Monday the National Investigation Agency (NIA) will probe a jailbreak by eight suspected SIMI activists, who were killed hours after they escaped from a high-security prison in Bhopal.
Chouhan said he had apprised Union home minister Rajnath Singh of the ‘neutralised SIMI terrorists’ and requested the central government for an investigation by the NIA. The chief minister said Singh agreed to his request.
“Since this matter doesn’t pertain Madhya Pradesh only, the NIA will look into it to see if there was some more design behind the incident,” Chouhan told reporters at a press conference in Bhopal.
The eight men of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India had broken out of jail around 2am on Monday after killing one guard and holding another hostage. They were killed in an encounter at Acharpura village, about five kilometres north-west of Bhopal Central Jail.
The chief minister also congratulated the police on successfully tracking down the escaped men and people of the area who provided information about the operatives.
He said the jailbreak was an incident of criminal negligence and that he has ordered the suspension of deputy inspector general of police as well as the superintendent, deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent of the jail.
The additional director general of police (jail) has been attached to the police headquarters and ADG (special task force) Sudhir Shahi would take charge in his place.
Chouhan said former director general of police Nandan Dubey will conduct an inquiry into the lapses of security in jail.
“If need be the officials could be dismissed from their service too,” he added.
This was the second such jailbreak by the members of the banned outfit in three years. On October 1, 2013, four of these eight men escaped from the Tantya Bheel Jail in the state’s Khandwa district in an identical manner.
Police told HT that the jailbreakers were accused in cases that included the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts, and explosions in Karimnagar, Pune and Chennai two years ago.
The SIMI was launched in 1977 to look after the welfare of Muslim youth but gradually adopted a more hardline ideology, especially after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992. The government banned the outfit in 2001 but experts say many erstwhile members who went underground managed to stay in touch and expand their network.