Durgapur, Aug. 8: Five packs of spiked soft drinks and a packet of food were all it took two young men to free six Bihar-based gangsters from a Durgapur jail today.
The food was enough to bribe the five security guards on the shift to allow the duo to meet the chief of the gang, Bijoy Singh alias Munna, near the main gate.
The soft drinks sent the guards, called warders, into a deep sleep from which they had still not woken fully in hospital tonight.
The youths had arrived at the Durgapur sub-jail on a motorbike around 2.45pm, introduced themselves as Bijoys relatives and asked the warder sahibs to let them meet him.
Such meetings require permission — from the subdivisional officer (SDO) in case of a sub-jail — but head warder Virendra Singh apparently waived the rule, police sources said. Nor were the visitors searched as the warders opened the main gate and led them inside the jail.
Now the duo had a final demand: that Bijoy be allowed to meet them near the main gate. The warders were ready to be persuaded this time too and two of them escorted Bijoy to the gate. The gangster exchanged quick greetings with the visitors and asked loudly: Saheblogo ke liye kuchh khana-pina laye ho (brought anything for the warder sahibs to eat or drink)?
At this, one of the youths stepped out of the jail to fetch five packs of soft drinks, a police officer said. After they returned, the warders locked the gate. They must have passed out within minutes of finishing their drink. The youths took out the keys from the head warders pocket and opened the gate.
By then, the other five gang members too had gathered near the gate. An undertrial, Swadhin Paul, noticed what was happening and rang the alarm to alert all the 117 inmates. One of the visitors then panicked, pulled out an improvised gun and fired in the air.
They all fled in a car parked outside, leaving their motorbike and the gun outside the gate, an undertrial said.
Ajoy Lohar, a jail cook, said: I saw all five warders slumped on their chairs, with their heads down.
Doctors at Durgapur subdivisional hospital said the conditions of the five were not stable. Dr M.K. Nandy said: Some strong, toxic drug was used. They are still semi-conscious.
Bijoy and the five other gangsters — Dharmendra Paswan, Santosh Barnewal, Vicky Khan, Pintu Singh and Rajendra Singh, all in their mid 30s — had been arrested in Durgapur on January 31 for an alleged kidnap plot. The six, accused of several kidnappings in Asanol and Durgapur, had since then been in the jail, awaiting trial.
Durgapur SDO R.N. Basu Roychowdhury, who is also the superintendent of the sub-jail, said he had ordered a departmental probe.
A senior jail official in Calcutta said all the five warders would be suspended for letting the youths meet Bijoy without their superiors permission and for failing to search them.
They violated norms even by accepting the soft drinks packs, he said. We are probing if any other jail employee knew the two youths. We have information that some jail employees are in league with some outsiders.
Under jail rules, relatives or friends seeking a meeting with an inmate must write out an application that has to be approved by the superintendent.