Jailbreak bid: Sabarmati jail staff under scanner

A day after an attempted jailbreak by inmates of Sabarmati Central Jail was discovered, city crime branch Tuesday began its probe that may turn the scanner on jail staff who failed to detect a long tunnel suspected to have been dug for over a month.

The investigators, who will begin questioning the accused from Wednesday, suspect that either there was not enough patrolling or the jail staff had become "too friendly" with the undertrial prisoners, sources said.

Fourteen of the 66 alleged members of Indian Mujahideen and SIMI, lodged in the jail for their role in the 2008 serial blasts that killed 56 people in Ahmedabad, were booked for the jailbreak attempt after it was found they had dug a tunnel that was nearly six feet deep and over 26-ft long.

A top crime branch official said the tunnel dug so far was about 150 feet away from the main compound wall of the jail on the rear side where Chandrabhaga river, which is now a sewer, once flowed.

"They would have had to break the wall of their barrack whose foundation is 10 feet deep and then the main wall of the jail to escape, or they could have crawled out from the drainage line to this sewer," said an officer.

Joint commissioner of police (crime) A K Sharma said the trial court had given us 10 days, beginning tomorrow (Wednesday), to police to question the accused inside the jail. Movement of the blast accused is restrained by the court and even the trial is held inside the jail premises.

An official said, "There is definitely a lapse. How else did the extra pile of earth in the jail garden go unnoticed for so long when there was no requisition for soil made by the jail authorities?"

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