A suspect in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts escaped near Raigarh railway station in Chhattisgarh during transit from a prison in Dum Dum to the Maharashtra capital on Sunday morning.
Sheikh Abdul Nayeem, a former resident of Aurangabad and a Lashkar-e-Toiba operative, was arrested seven years ago at the India-Bangladesh border village of Petrapol near Bongaon in North 24-Parganas. He has been lodged at the Dum Dum jail since then.
He was being taken to Mumbai following summons from a MCOCA court for trial in a case.
Sources said five policemen of Barrackpore commissionerate, who were escorting Nayeem on the Howrah-Mumbai Mail, found him missing from his berth early on Sunday.
An officer said the handcuffs were hanging from a metal bracket of the berth. One end was clamped to Nayeem’s hand but he managed to free himself. “Nayeem was escorted to Mumbai after a special court set up to hear cases under MCOCA in Arthur Road Jail asked the Dum Dum jail superintendent to send him for a case to be heard on August 25,” said the officer.
Accordingly, the jail superintendent obtained a transit order from the Barrackpore court. “We assigned a sub-inspector and four constables to escort him to Mumbai. The police boarded the train from Howrah station on Saturday night,” the officer added.
Sources said the policemen were fast asleep in the three-tier compartment when the undertrial prisoner freed himself from the handcuffs and fled. “One of them woke up at 5.45am and raised the alarm when he couldn’t find Nayeem on his berth. A door of the compartment was open and it’s presumed that the prisoner jumped through it and fled,” said another officer.
“The policemen are on their way back to the city. We’ll record their statement and an inquiry will be initiated.”