Bomb-proof tunnel to keep Kasab safe | india | Hindustan Times
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Bomb-proof tunnel to keep Kasab safe

250 men are working round the clock to build 20-ft-long, bomb-and-bullet-proof tunnel that will connect the Arthur Road jail cell in which Ajmal Kasab — the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks — will be held in solitary confinement for the duration of his trial to the special court in which he will be tried, reports Sunil Shivdasani. In a safe custody

india Updated: Mar 06, 2009 01:37 IST
Sunil Shivdasani

In the womb of Mumbai’s highest-security prison, 250 men are working round the clock and trying to finish in the next three weeks an unprecedented, Rs 2-crore project. In a safe custody

Their mission: to build a 20-ft-long, bomb-and-bullet-proof tunnel that will connect the Arthur Road jail cell in which Ajmal Kasab — the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks — will be held in solitary confinement for the duration of his trial to the special court in which he will be tried.

The cell exists, but it will be made bomb-proof over the next three weeks as well.

So badly does India want Kasab safe and alive — and so critical is his trial in the investigation of the attacks that devastated Mumbai like never before — that this is the first time that a tunnel is being constructed to ensure safe passage of an accused from his prison cell to the court, prison sources told Hindustan Times.

The court and Kasab’s cell are being reinforced with iron plates.

The special cell, the court and the tunnel will be centrally air-conditioned. The state government is footing the bill.

Surveillance cameras will be mounted at various points along the route. Battalions of armed guards will patrol the premises.

The prison has two sections, divided by a stone wall. One houses 10 barracks for prisoners. The other section has two barracks: for the special TADA court that investigated the 1993 Mumbai blasts, and its secretariat. Kasab’s new cell is in this section. The TADA court has shifted, and these barracks will turn into the special court for this trial. This might later become a permanent court for trying terror cases.

The walls of Arthur Road Jail are between 25 and 30 ft high.

If Kasab were to have walked across the grounds from his cell to the special court — rather than through a tunnel, as he will now — the authorities felt he would have been vulnerable to a grenade being lobbed over the wall.