Burail jailbreak: 2 wardens testify in court

A local court Friday examined two more witnesses in the Burail jailbreak case. Jail wardens Vinod and Ram Mehar were questioned about the events of the night of January 21, 2004 when Jagtar Singh Hawara and Paramjit Singh Bheora tunneled out of the jail.

The two wardens said they had informed their superiors that the TV was loud and the window of the barracks, in which the two were present, was covered with a blanket but they did not see any foul play till their shift ended.

Of the 85 witnesses to be examined, 32 witnesses have taken the stand so far. The case will now be heard on April 22, 2013.

Hawara, the alleged mastermind, and his accomplice Bheora were brought from Delhi's Tihar jail under tight security for the hearing. The relatives of the accused lined up outside the court to meet them. They were greeted with hugs and given homemade food.

Hawara, Bheora, Jagtar Singh Tara and murder convict Devi Singh had made a sensational escape from Burail jail through a 104-foot long tunnel. Hawara and Bheora were later caught by the police but Tara and Devi Singh are still at large.

The hearing, meanwhile, caused much inconvenience at the court. Vehicles were barred from entering the court complex till Hawara and Bheora were brought in.

Some 20 police personnel were deputed at five nakas around the court and a reserve force of 30 constables were to escort the accused while nearly 40 constables of the Delhi Police and three DSPs were on security duty.

Though the court has video-conferencing facility, the two accused, who are provided high security, were produced in person. Asked why the facility was not used, District and Sessions Judge S K Aggarwal said, "As per the orders which we have received, we are allowed to have video-conferencing between Burail jail and Chandigarh district court. We understand that a lot of resources are wasted and functioning of the court is hampered."

"We are hoping that we will be able to have connectivity with Tihar jail by the next hearing of this case," he added.

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