CHANDIGARH: The jailbreak at the Nabha high-security prison in Punjab has left the entire security establishment of the State red faced. Details are emerging of the poor state of security measures in the prison and the tardy response to advance intelligence inputs suggesting a conspiracy to spring prisoners from the jail.
Police sources said that a week before the jailbreak on Sunday, the Bathinda police had arrested five alleged gangsters and learnt from them that they had been in regular touch with gangster Kulpreet Singh alias Neeta Deol who was lodged in Nabha until his escape with five others on Sunday. The phones seized from the gangsters were found to have been used to make some 20 WhatsApp calls to Kuldeep Singh in a short span of time.
However, the police did not act on the information. The conspiracy to escape was hatched by gangsters Harjinder Singh Bhullar alias Vicky Gondar and Kulpreet Singh, and they roped in fellow gangster Gurpreet Singh Sekhon.
Sekhon asked his contact on the outside, Palwinder Singh, to mastermind the escape. After the early morning breakout, Palwinder was arrested later in the day by the UP police while on his way to Nepal. A few days back another gangster Navdeep Chadha was arrested by the police and it was discovered that he was in touch with Deol and Gondar. He too had made a few WhatsApp calls to them.
The other shocking lapse that has come to light is that Nabha jail superintendent Paramjit Singh Sandhu and deputy superintendent Karanjit Singh Sandhu were not present in the jail on Sunday. They and a few other jail staff had gone to attend a social function without having informed higher officials, sources said. Both the jail officials have been dismissed. The Nabha jail has more than 200 staff and some 550 prisoners.
According to a source, Nabha prisoners freely used phones, operated social media accounts and managed gang operations from the inside. They also planned the killing of a gangster, he added.
Sources said the Facebook account of Gurpreet Singh Sekhon had a picture of him in jail, taken on Saturday. He wrote in the status column, “Kaam aisa kro K naam ho jaye”. Neeta posted his picture from the jail on his Facebook wall on November 23, three days before the escape and got some 900 likes.
In May this year, Gondar posted on Facebook about the killing of gangster Jaswinder Singh alias Rocky in Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh, and challenged Bathinda senior superintendent of police P Swapan Sharma to take action. The murder was reportedly executed by gangster Jaipal on instructions of Gondar and Deol.