Sabarmati jailbreak bid: Guards didn’t report tunnel out of ‘fear’
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Probe finds jail staff knew about the digging activity but got cold feet after being threatened by blasts accused lodged there.
The staff at the Sabarmati Central Jail were aware that the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts accused lodged there were digging a tunnel there to escape but did not report it to the authorities out of fear since they were threatened by the inmates, an inquiry report submitted by deputy inspector general (jails) Amit Vishwakarma to the state home department has concluded.
The tunnel, earlier claimed to be 18-feet-long but later discovered to be over 200-feet-long, was reported on February 10. It was dug near barrack number 4 of the Chhota Chakkar that houses the serial blasts accused.
Vishwakarma's 25-page inquiry report has also blamed guards, jailors and even the Superintendent of Jails R J Pargi for negligence.
The report, accessed by The Indian Express, says, "There was a total failure of security and system of checking at all levels... there was negligence on the part of jail superintendent R J Pargi who remained ignorant about the tunnel that was dug for two months..."
According to the jail manual, jail staff at all levels of have to make visits to yards and barracks.
The report quotes a few jail staff members as saying: "Some of the blasts accused were threatening us regularly of an attack and hence we could not stop them...".
Vishwakarma noted that these statements of the lower rung staff showed that they knew about the tunnel. "If they claim they were threatened, it shows they knew that the blast accused were planning an escape... there was some nexus between them and the blasts accused...", the report says.
Home officials who have seen the report said the department was waiting to take action against Pargi till the state government-appointed three-member committee completes its inquiry. The committee was formed to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.
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