Burail jail break case: Two wardens cross examined

Two witnesses, both wardens at the Burail Jail, were cross-examined in the ongoing Burail Jail break case at a local court on Tuesday. The accused, Jagtar Singh Hawara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, were also produced in the court, following which they were taken back to Tihar Jail in Delhi.

Jail wardens Jagtar Singh and Ashok Kumar were the guards on duty at barrack number no. 7 from where Hawara and Bheora, along with two others, escaped in January 2004. The two were produced in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajesh Garg, where they were cross-examined.

The witnesses, in their statements to the police and court, had alleged inaction on the part of the senior prison authorities, despite being informed about suspicious activities going on in the barrack. However, during cross-examination they admitted that they did not inform the guard manning the main tower or any of the senior UT Police officials about the activities.

While speaking to the Chandigarh Newsline, public prosecutor J P Singh said, "During the cross-examination, the witnesses maintained that they informed the senior prison officials about suspicious activities going on in the barrack. They had informed them about the TV and tape recorders being played at full volume all day, lights remaining switched off and the tap in the bathroom of the barrack being left open. However, jail officials never paid any heed or verified".

He further said, "Even when the Municipal Corporation employees were called in thrice in November 2003 to clear the gutters of barracks 6 and 7 from where heaps of sand was filtered out, the jail officials did not make any inquiry into the matter".

Meanwhile, the defence counsel said, "None of the two wardens submitted any written complaints to the senior prison officials. Also, they did not inform the guard manning the main tower about any suspicious activity".

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