PATNA: A daring bid by three jailed Maoists to escape from a prison van through a hole cut on its floor was foiled by police in Bihar’s Sasaram on Saturday.
The Maoists had cut a rectangular hole of about two feet diagonal under one of the seats of the prison van. The floor was intact throughout the van, including under this particular seat, but it could be pushed open with a minor kick, said officials.
“It was a well-hatched plan by the leftwing rebels. They had apparently worked on it for two months by using some powerful chemicals to weaken the prison van’s metal floor. We found it out just in time,” said Rohtas superintendent of police (SP) PK Mandal.
Three dreaded Maoists lodged at Sasaram jail – Abhay Yadav, Shambhu alias Sheetal and Ajay Kharwar – were scheduled to board the prison van to go to the sub-divisional court for their appearance on Saturday. Moments after they entered the van, the cops received a tip-off about the hole cut on the van’s floor. The trio was taken off immediately and the van’s floor was examined thoroughly.
A part of the metal floor of the van under a seat fell off as policemen walked around the van. The hole was large enough to let two men get out at a time, said the SP. “The three undertrial Maoists were sent to the court in another vehicle amid high security, and the damaged prison van was sent for a repair,” he added.
The prison van’s driver, constable Mahendra Singh, and zamadar Tabaraq Mian were placed under suspension for dereliction of duty. A showcause notice was issued to sergeant major Randhir Singh for poor upkeep of the prison van.
“The Maoists had planned to escape through the hole on the floor on their way to the court by taking advantage of a traffic jam. It is learnt that their sympathisers had also planned a traffic jam at Suara More,” said a police official familiar with the ongoing probe.
The SP said suitable punitive action would be taken against several police and jail personnel for their suspected involvement in the Maoists’ plan to escape from the prison van. “A probe has been ordered,” he added.