Ninety-one juvenile inmates made a daring escape from a Meerut observation home in the early hours on Monday, using a rope made of bed sheets to rappel down from the three-storey building.
Fourteen inmates facing charges for heinous crimes like murder, rape and robbery were among those who escaped in the breakout around 3am, Superintendent of Police, City, Om Prakash Singh said.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Subhash Kumar Baghel said a patrol team spotted some of the inmates outside the observation home. The inmates also broke the grilles to escape from the second floor of the observation home which housed 155 inmates, Baghel told HT over phone.
While 40 inmates have been caught by the police, special police teams have been constituted to trace out the others. The SSP added two cops have been suspended for dereliction of duty.
Located in Surajkund area of Meerut town, the observation house has inmates from Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Baghpat and Meerut districts.
Special secretary Shivakant Dwevidi was in Meerut to conduct a thorough inquiry into the case, Principal secretary of women and child welfare department, Renuka Kumar said. She said over-crowing could not be the reason for the breakout. “There must be some other reason (for the breakout),” Kumar added.
She said action would be taken after getting spot report, and added a report from the district magistrate was also awaited.
Meanwhile, the SSP said 43 inmates of Bulandshahr and Hapur were shifted to observation homes in their respective districts last month. There are reports of overcrowding at the observation home in Meerut.
As per the rule, each inmate should be provided 40 sq feet area. Under the law, young offenders should be kept at observation homes in their district. But space crunch had forced the authorities to keep inmates of various districts together at the observation home, the reports suggested.