Top officials not in loop, guards at jail gate too had no clue

Shifting of Ajmal Kasab from Mumbai to Yerawada jail in Pune on Monday and his hanging and burial in Yerawada jail two days later was done in so much secrecy in an operation codenamed Operation X that almost all top officials in Pune were kept out of the loop. Even the guards manning the jail gates came to know of the hanging only after people rushed to the gates after the news was flashed on TV, which reflects the degree of secrecy of the mission.

Other than Meeran Borwankar, State Additional Director-General (Prisons) and District Collector Vikas Deshmukh-who himself declined to comment whether he knew or not-officials did not seem aware of the mission.

Borwankar refused to comment. "Only the Home Minister and the Chief Minister will speak," she said. Jail officials did not come forward with any information. Jail sources said they were banned from interacting with journalists or giving out information.

Even the policemen manning the gates of Yerawada jail had no inkling of what was going on inside. "I came on duty at 5 in the morning. There was no movement inside or outside the gate. I came to know about the hanging only after people rushed to the gate as news of the hanging was flashed on TV channels," said a constable posted the jail gate. At least three constables who came out of the jail premises between 12 and 1 pm said although they were inside the jail and worked "everywhere in the jail," they had no clue of such a thing having taken place.

When contacted, Pune district collector Vikas Deshmukh refused to comment whether he was kept in the loop or not. "This is confidential matter and I would not like to comment," he said. Collectorate sources, however, said Deshmukh was alerted by the Home Ministry.

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