The mystery surrounding Bhopal Central Jail break incident seems to be getting deeper and deeper. From video footages to fake encounter angle along with political slug fest, it has everything to entice even Scotland Yard (officially New Scotland Yard) for an investigation, on a lighter note of course. Now, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh has put the blame on the jail officials concerned. He even said criminal cases were likely to be filed against jail officials because it would have been impossible for the eight SIMI activists to escape from the Bhopal Central Jail without their collusion. His statement came amid controversy over the official version of the encounter following emergence of three videos. Though unverified, these videos depict shocking account.
“It is a serious security lapse and amounts to sedition. They were getting VIP treatment in their cells and enjoyed more facilities than other undertrials, probably because they were plied with cash. It’s not possible unless someone was funding them from outside,” Singh said, according to The Indian Express report. “It must have taken an elaborate planning over two-three months because it is not possible to make duplicate keys so early and without help from an insider,” he said while ruling out an NIA probe into the encounter that followed, the report said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday promised an NIA probe but Singh said it was only into the jailbreak. A special investigation team (SIT) was formed to investigate the encounter and it will submit its report to the DGP. While claiming that he did not know why some CCTV cameras installed in the jail premises were not functional, the minister said the SIMI activists knew which part of the prison was not covered and used that portion to escape using a makeshift rope ladder made of bedsheets and blankets. When asked about the clothes, shoes and watches found on the bodies, he said they were undertrials and not required to wear clothes meant for convicts.
In a callous statement, Jail Minister Kusum Mehdele, however, described the non-functional CCTV cameras as “a small lapse”. She said the fault had been rectified. When asked if the CCTV cameras could have been deliberately tinkered with, she did not rule it out, saying, “If someone is found guilty he will be punished irrespective of whether he is an insider or outsider.”
Meanwhile, former Madhya Pradesh IG (Prisons), G K Agarwal, in a conversation with The Indian Express, said that he had written the letter to the then state chief secretary, Anthony Desa, on June 26, 2014 about the possible security loopholes and marked copies to National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the Intelligence Bureau.
In the letter, Agarwal wrote, “At present, SIMI activists from other prisons have been kept in the Bhopal Central Jail. But given the structure of the jail building, its vulnerable points, illogical security arrangement and deplorable condition of staff, it would be wrong to presume that everything is OK if no major incident takes place. God is helping but it would a mistake to presume that he will continue to offer help.”
Earlier, president of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, Asaduddin Owaisi had urged for a proper and independent investigation on the entire matter. Owaisi demanded Supreme Court probe for an independent investigation. The AIMM chief claimed that there is quite a lot of discrepancy between the statements of police officials and the Home Minister and the complete theory is generally doubtful. “Very socking that from high-security central prison of Bhopal 8 alleged SIMI activists escaped,” Owaisi had said.
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijaya Singh had wondered as to what is the reason that only Muslims break out of jail and not Hindus while stating that he was against all those playing politics in the name of religion. The Congress general secretary stated that he had put ban on the SIMI when he was the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
“I was the first Chief Minister to put ban on the SIMI. Rajnath Singh was then the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh…he did not put the ban. Other controvertist Hindu organisations like the Bajrang Dal along with the SIMI used to ensure that riots take place. I had proofs and based on that the NDA put the ban on SIMI,” he had said.