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Cops suspended after prisoners escape

Four police officers were suspended and two home guards demobilised on Wednesday for negligence after five undertrials fled from their custody on Tuesday evening.

Police sources said a probe had been ordered after the undertrials — Altaf Gazi, Babul Majumder, Suman Bhadra, Biswanath Sardar and Saidul Sheikh — lodged at Dum Dum central jail fled from a prison van while they were being brought back from a Barasat court.

The decision to take disciplinary action against three constables, an assistant sub-inspector and two home guards who were inside the police van on Tuesday was taken on Wednesday afternoon after the inquiry report was tabled before senior officers.

“Action has been taken against the six cops who had been in the police van on Tuesday. The four police officers have been suspended and the two home guards demobilised for negligence. A departmental inquiry has been initiated against them,” said Champak Bhattacharya, the superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas.

Preliminary probe suggests the escape could not have been possible without “insider help”, hinting at the involvement of one or more men in uniform in the van, said a senior officer of the district police.

“It appears the escape was pre-planned. One of the wooden planks on the floor of the van was removed. It could not have been removed without using a lever or crowbar,” the officer said. “But no such implement was found inside the van. So, either someone had supplied the undertrials with the tool, or they had removed the plank before they boarded the vehicle.”

The escape was also well timed, claimed the officer. “The undertrials had slipped through the floor in a couple of minutes while the traffic light was red. It’s impossible that none of the cops heard anything. Only the driver realised something was amiss and gave chase,” the officer said. Till Wednesday, the police haven’t been able to trace the fugitives.

nCheats held: Two men were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly cheating a couple of women. Mahajud Khan Fakir, 50, and Samsuddin Fakir, 40, had allegedly taken a gold ring and some money from Sunayana Shaw and Rina Shaw, residents of Belgachhia, Howrah, promising to perform a “prosperity ritual”. The duo, however, fled after which the women lodged a police complaint with Liluah police station.

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