An embarrassed Jharkhand police on Saturday suspended four constables after it emerged that they had taken along a convicted prisoner to a redlight area in neighbouring West Bengal, a top official said, exposing gaping holes in prison security.
On Friday, the police personnel had escorted the prisoner, serving a seven-year prison term for murder, for a health check-up at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi, around 200 km from the Koderma jail.
However, instead of returning to Koderma, the constables took the prisoner to a redlight area at Kulti in Asansol, a border township in West Bengal.
Asansol is around 230 km from Ranchi, a three-hour drive by road.
Jail sources their act came to light only after a team of Asansol police raided the red light area and arrested the policemen, who carried arms, but sported civil dress.
“We have directed a probe in the matter and the four policemen have been suspended until further notice,” said DK Pandey, Jharkhand’s director general of police.
The prisoner, identified as Baiju Yadav, returned to the prison on Friday night and told authorities that he was “forcibly” taken to the red light area, jail sources said.
The four police personnel, who are said to have been drunk at the time of the raid, are in custody of Asansol police.
Jharkhand police contacted their West Bengal counterparts only after Yadav informed them about the incident.
“We got to know they are policemen only after Jharkhand police contacted us,” said an official from Kulti police station in Asansol.
Police said that despite the “humourous side” to the incident, it had raised serious questions about jail security, especially the fact that the prisoner was allowed into the prison without his guards.
Sources said that several cases of jail break due to non-compliance of standard operating procedure and lackadaisical approach of officials have been reported in the state before.
Since 2012, at least five cases of jail break have been recorded in Jharkhand.
The probe is expected to go into the loopholes in the system, the sources added.