Not just 8, all 29 SIMI men might have planned to escape Bhopal jail on Diwali
Imprints of keys on prison toilet soaps, scribbles in the prison register that say “We are coming on Deepawali” and recovery of 17 duplicate cell keys are among the leads explored by officers probing a jailbreak by eight SIMI men, sources privy to investigations said.
The new revelations indicate that the undertrials had meticulously planned their escape for months and aimed to free all 29 Islamist radicals lodged in the jail, police sources claimed.
The eight men who first escaped from Block B planned to proceed to the adjacent Block A to free other Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) operatives – including self-styled Madhya Pradesh SIMI chief Abu Faisal – but their plans were foiled by two jail guards, sources added.
Jail sources say the plan may have been hatched when inmates of Block A and B were jointly under treatment at the prison hospital. Soaps were also recovered that may have been used as casts to duplicate jail cell keys, sources added.
A sweep of nine cells of B block that housed the other SIMI men who failed to escape have led to at least two registers that mention in Hindi and English “Hum Deepawali par aa rahe hain” and “We’re coming on Deepawali” along with other notes written in Urdu.
The jailbreak and subsequent encounter of the eight men made national headlines. Two prison guards, head warder Ramshankar Yadav and warder Chandan Singh, spotted the eight SIMI men coming out of their cells and a fight broke out, in which Yadav was killed.
Further, small pieces of paper containing sketches resembling maps of a hillock and some explanation in Urdu were also recovered from a cell in the Central Jail’s B block.
These drawings resemble a cave near a hillock and police think the men planned to hide there for a few days. The investigators also found dried meat and prawns from their cells which suggest the SIMI men planned to consume them after the escape, added sources.
But the SIMI men’s lawyer rubbished the police’s version, saying the men never escaped and were taken out of the jail and shot.