British woman rape case accused vanishes from Goa jail, it’s his 3rd escape
Having given the Goa police the slip twice before, serial escapee has pulled off the most outrageous escape yet.Updated: Sep 24, 2020, 11:38 IST
More than 48-hours after Ramchandran Yellappa, a prisoner facing trial for allegedly having raped a British tourist in Goa in 2018, went missing, jail authorities are none the wiser over his whereabouts and whether he has escaped from the jail and if so, how he managed to pull it off.
Ramchandran Yellappa, 32, was last seen at around 6:10 on Tuesday morning when he complained of a stomach ache and was referred to the dispensary within the jail premises. However, instead of going to the dispensary, he went missing en-route. He was noticed missing 20 minutes later after he didn’t report to the mess. It’s the third time he has given the police the slip.
“We are also confused over what happened to him and if he has escaped, how he managed to pull it off,” a jail official said, on condition of anonymity.
“We have searched every nook and corner of the jail and have not been able to find him. Neither is there any evidence of tunnelling or him having scaled the walls,” the official said.
The Central Jail at Colvale, a village in North Goa, is a newly constructed correctional facility. A prisoner who seeks escape will not only have to manage to get out of his cell, leave his cell block and then get past two concentric boundary walls both of which are believed to be unscalable.
“Even if a prisoner seeking to escape manages to get through one wall, he will only end up staring at the second wall that is even higher and believed to be impossible to climb over,” the official said. The outer boundary wall is watched from watchtowers and has only one way to get across -- the main gate.
Another official speaking to HT, said he believed that Yellappa could have escaped with the help of an insider who either smuggled him out or helped him escape.
Authorities initially believed that Yellappa was hiding within the complex but a search failed to find him or traces of his escape.
While the inner wall is manned by armed guards of the Indian Reserve Battalion, the outer gate is manned by civilian security guards. These guards are set to be replaced now.
Additional Inspector General (IG) of prisons, Ashutosh Apte, said that a preliminary inquiry into the incident has found three persons -- one jail guard and two jailors -- guilty of dereliction of duty and have placed them under suspension.
“They allowed the prisoner to walk unaccompanied. They have been suspended on account of the lapses. We are viewing this incident very seriously and if others are found to be at fault during the course of the inquiry, action will be taken against them too,” Apte said.
A native of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu, Yellappa was arrested in 2018 after a 42-year-old British woman complained that she was waylaid, robbed of Rs 20,000 and later raped.
This is the third time Yellappa has given the police the slip. Last June, on a visit to the court, Yellappa sought the leave of his police escort to visit the toilet within the court complex but made good his escape by removing the glass panels that covered the ventilator at the court complex.
Ramchandran Yellappa was first arrested by the Goa police on December 6, 2018 in North Goa in connection with two separate incidents of robbery, including one case where a young couple from Mumbai were relieved of Rs 35-lakh during their holiday in Morjim in North Goa. He however, slipped from their custody, and went on to commit the robbery and rape of a British woman in South Goa a few weeks later.
This is the second incident of a prisoner escaping from the jail this year. In late August, a prisoner Hemraj Bharadwaj, who is facing trial in a narcotics case made good his escape taking advantage of the fact that he was given some prison chores and allowed outside the gates for the purpose. He was later apprehended while attempting to cross the border.
Earlier this month a jail guard was suspended for trying to smuggle narcotics into the prison complex and placed under arrest.