‘Security lapses, poor prison van condition helped inmates kill UP cops’
Violation of routine security drill and poor condition of the prison van reportedly facilitated the escape of three jail inmates who allegedly killed two police personnel in Sambhal district on Wednesday, the initial probe indicated according to officials privy to the matter.
The probe revealed the three jail inmates, Shakeel, Dharampal and Kamal, escaped after throwing chilli powder in the eyes of police personnel guarding them after their court appearance around 5.15pm on Wednesday, officials said.
The jail inmates allegedly shot dead two police constables, Brijpal and Harendra Kumar, on facing resistance from them and took away one of their rifles.
A senior police official privy to investigation said the probe suggested that it was a pre-planned move by three criminals and they did a proper recce of the entire route. They exploited violation of the routine security drill by police personnel and poor conditions of prison van, he added.
The official said there was no attack from outside and preliminary investigation suggested three inmates managed to get chilli powder and two firearms when they were lodged in the court lock up in Sambhal.
He said they threw chilli powder on police personnel to escape and opened fire on facing resistance. The main van door was supposed to be locked from outside but this was not done, he said. Instead, the police personnel accompanying the jail inmates locked the main van door from the inside, he said.
They also locked the iron grill that separated the inmates’ chamber from police personnel in the van.
The official said the three inmates sat close to the iron grill and threw chilli powder in the eyes of the police personnel on finding a deserted stretch on their way back to Moradabad.
The three inmates apparently opened fire on the two police personnel from gaps in the iron grill, he added.
Later, they prised open the iron grill, which had become quite weak, and entered the police personnel’s chamber, the official said. Then, they opened the main door and jumped out of the van when the driver stopped the vehicle after sensing trouble.
“The iron grill’s condition was so bad that it was easily pulled from the lower side despite having a lock installed on it,” he emphasized.
“Despite this, the incident would have been averted if the main door had been locked from outside,” he said.
The official said it was being investigated as to who provided chilli powder and firearms to the criminals in the court lock-up.
₹2.5 lakh reward each on three escaped jail inmates
The state government on Thursday declared reward of ₹2.5 lakh each on the three jail inmates Shakeel, Dharampal and Kamal, who escaped after allegedly killing two police personnel in Sambhal district on Wednesday. Director general of police (DGP) OP Singh has ordered police officers of Sambhal and its border districts, along with a team of the Special Task Force (STF), to carry out combing operations continuously till the escaped criminals are arrested.
Inspector general (IG) of police, STF, Amitabh Yash, who rushed to Sambhal after the incident, said combing was carried out in areas where the criminals are suspected to be hiding but heavy rain had made things difficult in the sugarcane fields of the region. “We, however, have launched a massive manhunt and they will be arrested soon,” he said.
He said police teams rounded up close relatives and family members of the criminals to ascertain their possible whereabouts.
Trio likely to be convicted in kidnapping, murder case
A senior police officer posted in Sambhal said the three jail inmates were likely to be convicted in murder and kidnapping case registered against them in 2011. He said they were well aware that all witnesses testified against them and thus planned the escape, fearing conviction in the same case.
Shakeel has 12 criminal cases registered against him in Sambhal and Moradabad while Dharampal and Kamal have seven and three criminal cases registered against them respectively.