NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday sought a detailed report from the Madhya Pradesh government on the jailbreak by eight SIMI men from high-security Bhopal Central Jail and their subsequent encounter killing by the police.
The Centre has asked the State Government whether there was any lapse by the jail administration and subsequent steps taken by the state government to check such an incidents.
After a request from Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who briefed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the incident over phone and requested an NIA investigation into the issue, the MHA is considering to handover over the probe to the National Investigation Agency. Meanwhile, the intelligence agencies began a detailed probe to find if the escape of the killed under-trials was part of a larger design to revive and regroup the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) that has suffered major setback with the arrest of top leadership of the outfit by the security agencies in the last couple of years.
Sources said the jailbreak happened despite some of the cohorts of the under-trials were meeting them at the Bhopal prison at regular intervals. In fact, the Bhopal police were able to zero in on the fleeing SIMI activities by getting information from these regular visitors to the prison. This indicates serious lapses on the part of the jail administration who could not read the writing on the wall, sources said.
The sources said many of the jail officials were granted leave for the Diwali celebrations and the prison administration even ignored an alert by the Centre to heighten security ahead of the festivities.
The central security agencies were particularly anxious as four of the seven SIMI activities, who escaped from a jail in Khandwa on October 1, 2013, could be arrested only after three years and during the period of their hiding, they were involved in multiple incidents of terror and a bank robbery. While in hiding, the SIMI men were allegedly involved in terror activities in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and UP.