The decampment comes within weeks of chief minister Siddaramaiah taking officers to task for lawlessness in jails. Parappana Agrahara jail is regarded as one of the most-secure prisons in the country.
On Saturday, Jaishankar, prisoner number 54577, was taken to Tumkur for a court hearing and brought back to the jail in the evening. He was then taken to the jail hospital inside the jail premises for “psychiatric treatment”. He was then returned to his cell, shared with another prisoner, Bore Gowda (15583).
Jaishankar’s escape came to light on Sunday morning when wardens came for inspection. Gowda told them that Jaishankar spoke to him till around 12.30am, after which Gowda slept. He claims to have heard no sound.
KV Gagandeep, ADGP (prisons), said Jaishankar may have bolted between 2am and 4am, using duplicate keys to get out of his cell. He used a steel pole for construction work on a mobile phone jammer on the prison premises to scale the wall. Cops said Jaishankar placed the pole against the 20-foot-high compound wall separating the hospital from the men’s cells and climbed up to reach the top of the perpendicular perimeter wall, laid with glass shards and barbwires, and 30 feet high.
Jail officials said he stole three pairs of gloves from the hospital. They suspect he went past the electrified perimeter wall using gloves during a brief power cut past Saturday midnight. Jail superintendent Vishwanath said they found bloodstains on the ground outside the wall where Jaishankar is suspected to have made his jump.
“We also found one nylon sling, generally used with travel bags, hanging on the wall. It seems he jumped from the 30 feet wall or scaled down it. We could see bloodstains along the wall for some distance,” he said. A moat-like storm water drain flows next to the main wall. The blood trail ends at the drain he is suspected to have crossed and fled.
The police described Jaishankar as “a dangerous criminal”. There’s high alert in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Jaishankar’s home state, where he committed most of his crimes. After his previous escape from TN police custody in 2011, he allegedly murdered eight people and raped six women in a month in Chitradurga and Tumkur. He was convicted for two of his crimes, and the trial of the rest of the cases is on.
A 36-year-old prisoner, involved in several criminal cases including of rape, murder and kidnapping, escaped from the central jail on the city’s outskirts early Sunday, a senior police official said.
“We learnt that Jaishankar escaped from the jail by climbing two 15-feet inner walls and the 30-feet outer wall between 2 and 4 a.m.,” Karnataka’s Inspector General of Prisons (IGP) K.V. Gagandeep told reporters here.
The IGP has suspended three wardens, two jailors and six security guards who were on duty then and ordered an inquiry into the daring jailbreak.
The incident came to light when Jaishankar did not turn up for morning roll-call and was found missing from his cell.
“The accused was lodged in a separate barrack as he was under treatment for an ailment. He used clothes and nylon ropes to climb the walls and also got injured as there were drops of blood outside the outer wall,” Gagandeep said.
According to preliminary investigation, Jaishankar even managed to hoodwink a couple of security guards patrolling between the first and third walls by disguising as a policeman and pretending to be part of the prison staff.
“We are investigating how he got the police dress and fled in darkness as there was a power failure and the electric fence on the top of the outer wall was not functioning due to power cut and sudden rain in the area,” Gagandeep said.
The undertrial is facing a number of cases in the state and neighbouring Tamil Nadu after he was arrested in May 2011.
“We have set up a special team to trace the accused as he is carrying Rs.10 lakh cash reward and had a history of escaping from Salem and Coimbatore prisons in Tamil Nadu earlier,” Gagandeep said.