BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of jailbreaks and escapes from police custody in the country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, a criminal flees from police custody in MP every second day.
There are 11 central jails in the state. According to the NCRB, 165 criminals fled from custody last year. Sixteen of them escaped from the lock-up. In 2012, 90 criminals escaped from the police custody. Nine of them escaped from lockup.
Maharastra, with 147 such incidents of custodial escape, was ranked second in 2013.
The poor conditions of the prisons in MP became national news after seven dreaded activists of banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), fled from the high security Khandwa jail in last October.
Officials had revealed that, the seven men removed an iron rod fixed on a wall in their cell and used the rod to make a 1.5ft x 1.5ft hole in the wall of an attached toilet and fled the prison at predawn hours. “They later scaled the 16-foot-high outer wall by climbing on top of each other. The jail officials also discovered bed sheets that were used to climb the wall,” an official here claimed.
Interestingly, state’s Director-General of Prisons Surendra Singh, who visited Khandwa prison, made the police re-enact the escape by asking seven cops to climb over the wall by standing on top of each other.
Later, the investigations revealed that the security of SIMI terrorists, involved in serious crimes such as murder and dacoity, was assigned to an aged, handicapped chief guard, who could not even move without the support of a walking stick. Chief guard D K Tiwari was suffering from neurological diseases and had undergone a neck surgery a year ago and his hands and feet would regularly go numb. Despite requesting the authorities to move him to a less taxing position, the jail authorities continued to assign him the responsibility of guarding the SIMI terrorists.
Officials said the rising incidents of prisoners and under-trials breaking free is because of the laxity on the part of the police officials and the poor security in jails.