The police on Monday launched a hunt for a man charged with murder, who escaped from a prison van at Baruipur, on the southern fringes of the city, by duping the constables escorting him to Alipore court on Sunday.
Till late on Monday, the man could not be located, despite extensive searches. The five policemen escorting him were served showcause notices.
Jasimuddin Laskar was arrested from Joynagar, in South 24-Parganas, early on Sunday in connection with a murder committed five years ago. Baruipur’s sub-divisional police officer Niladri Chakraborty said a hunt was on. “He had been evading arrest since the slaying five years ago. But on a tip-off last weekend, officers of Joynagar thana picked him up from the house of one of his associates early on Sunday,” Chakraborty said.
Explaining how Laskar escaped, Chakraborty said as soon as the van reached a petrol pump in Baruipur, Laskar requested his escorts to allow him to go to the toilet.
As soon as he got off the van, he raised a din, accusing the policemen of being imposters. “Dada, amakey bachan, era policer lok noy. Era goonda. Amake marbey boley niye jachchhey. Eder haathey boma-pistol achhey (Help me, please. These are not policemen. They are goons. They are armed with bombs and revolvers and they are taking me away to kill me),” he shouted.
His cries drew a crowd. Some bystanders picked up a quarrel with the policemen and challenged them to prove their credentials. In the melee, Laskar untied the cord around his waist and melted into the mob.
The escort team’s statements are being cross-checked. “A criminal is always escorted by at least two policemen, even if he is let off the van to visit the toilet,” Chakraborty said.
“We are trying to ascertain whether the episode was a mere drama to hush up a connivance between the prisoner and the policemen,” he added.