The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Two beer bottles to freedom
- Sajal Barui spiked guards’ drinks to walk out of hospital

Two bottles of beer were enough for Sajal Barui to spirit his way out of a National Medical College and Hospital ward two years ago. This was revealed by the 24-year-old convict serving a life sentence to officials of Midnapore Central Jail and sleuths of the detective department during interrogation.

On the night of September 15, 2001, Sajal — who had murdered his father, stepmother and brother in November 1993 — had “hosted a beer party” at the hospital, where two constables of the reserve force were the guests of honour. Sajal popped sleeping pills into the two bottles. The two policemen polished off the beer and dozed off. While his guards slept, Sajal walked out of the hospital.

He then contacted one of his friends in Mumbai on e-mail and headed there. Sajal returned to the city after marrying a Mumbai girl. He left her in Asansol and took up a life of crime in and around the city, under various names. Last February, the Midnapore police picked him up from Jamboni for petty theft. He was booked as Sheikh Raju, a name he had assumed for the past three months. Last week, a jailer who had seen Sajal during his early tenure at Alipore jail, blew the whistle on ‘Sheikh Raju’.

After interrogating Sajal, the sleuths stumbled upon another woman. “The way he fled from the hospital proved it was well-planned. He had chalked it out with his city-based girlfriend. Sajal used to write to her from Alipore jail, under the name of Kamal,” disclosed an official at Midnapore jail. “We can’t reveal her name for the sake of investigation.”

On the night of the escape, the girl had smuggled three bottles of beer into the hospital. “It was not the first time she was doing this. Sajal would often drink with his guards in the hospital. So, that night, when Sajal called the constables over, they did not suspect a thing,” said a sleuth. The toilet was the venue for the ‘undercover party’, after which Sajal returned to his bed. “After half an hour, he came out from the ward, found his guards asleep and walked out,” said the official.

Sajal is expected in the city either this weekend or early next week. Detectives who interrogated him in Midnapore jail will bring him here to piece together his criminal background. “We have information that after fleeing the hospital, he developed underworld links in and around the city,” said Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner of police (detective department).

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