Nabha jailbreak impossible without assistance of prison officials: Court
The additional district and sessions judge, HS Grewal, made scathing remarks against the prisons department in his judgment and also listed some measures to improve its functioning
Indicting the Punjab prisons department in the Nabha jailbreak case, a Patiala court said it was not possible to escape without the involvement of officials.
The additional district and sessions judge, HS Grewal, made scathing remarks against the prisons department in his judgment and also listed some measures to improve its functioning.
“It has become inevitable to bring to the notice of the state government and also the DGP (prisons), Punjab, to make sincere endeavour towards security as the lapses on the part of the officials were to that extent that any individual could breach the security cover and there was no effort from the officials who were performing security duty on the premises of maximum security jail, Nabha,” the court observed.
“They did not even make any effort worth safeguarding their own persons. The officials engaged from PESCO for performing the duty at the maximum security jail, Nabha, it clearly showed that the lapse on the part and on the part of the officials inside the deodi, which is virtually unpardonable,” the order read.
“Few individuals took the entire security at the maximum security jail for a ride. They even snatched their weapons and took away along with them,” it added.
“Besides that, the officials of the jail acted in a manner to facilitate the entire jailbreak. Without their assistance or the involvement, it was neither possible nor it could have been accomplished. There were no CCTV cameras on the outer gate. The said fact further is a matter of concern as it was outside the jail premises that numerous persons came in several vehicles,” the judgment read.
The court deems it appropriate to bring the said facts to the notice of the state government so that CCTV cameras with facility of audio, if feasible, could be installed at the nook and corner of the jail premises to avoid any such uncalled for incident in future, the judge said. “The maximum security jail was having least arrangements towards the security. Such instances can be completely avoided by taking cautionary and effective measures towards security,” he added.
The court also ordered the copy of judgment be sent to the state government through the chief secretary and DGP (prisons) to plug in all the loopholes and put in strenuous efforts to ensure that there is proper and effective employment of security officials, CCTV cameras are installed, so that every effort is made with utmost sincerity towards the security and proper monitoring of functioning on the premises of maximum security jail, Nabha, and the other prisons of the state, read the judgment.
It is worth mentioning here that the then deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had suspended MK Tiwari (then ADGP, prisons), but he was later reinstated without any inquiry against him. He simply offered his clarification in a letter and the then DGP requested the deputy CM to reinstate him.
On November 27, 2016, 15 gangsters dressed as police officials had infiltrated into the high-security jail and managed to free four of their associates and two militants, including Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh Mintoo.
Seven years after the sensational prison break, a Patiala district court had on March 23 sentenced 22 accused to jail with their terms ranging from three to 20 years.