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Dewani case: Salem's hitman escapes from jail

Deepak Singh escaped from a Varanasi jail recently and this has jeopardised the trial in a Mumbai court.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 09:36 IST

The prosecution in the high profile murder case of Ajit Dewani, former secretary to actor Manisha Koirala, has suffered a setback.

The prime accused and gunman of extradited gangster Abu Salem escaped from jail custody in Uttar Pradesh, police sources said on Sunday.

Deepak Singh Jagannath Singh alias Deepu escaped from a Varanasi jail recently and this has jeopardised the trial in a Mumbai court, as he was the prime accused besides Salem, the sources said.

Deepak was taken to Varanasi on a request made by the Uttar Pradesh police, as he was wanted in a criminal case in that state.

The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court had allowed Uttar Pradesh police to take the accused to Varanasi on a transfer warrant. However, Deepak gave the police a slip and escaped from the jail recently, the sources said.

Varanasi police had submitted a report in this regard to MCOCA court following which designated judge Abhay Thipsay took a serious view of Deepak's escape from jail and said he would hold an inquiry into the incident.

Salem is accused of hatching a conspiracy to murder Dewani as he refused to pay extortion amount while Deepak is charged with murdering Dewani at point blank range in the latter's office in 2001, the sources said.

Salem was arrested in January this year after he was extradited from Portugal. Deepak was arrested last year after co-accused revealed his alleged role in Dewani's murder.

First Published: Apr 09, 2006 09:36 IST