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Beant Singh murder accused had all comforts in jail

January 24, 2004 00:53 IST

The four men, including three accused in the assassination of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who escaped from Burail Jail in Chandigarh on Thursday had all the comforts inside their cell that only people outside take for granted.

The windows of their cell had curtains; they had mattresses instead of simple cement slabs, their own kitchen and toilet. The cell also had a television set, an aqua-guard water purifier and a big lawn in front, which ensured virtually total privacy.

The entrance to the tunnel they had dug was on the extreme left side of the door. A carrom board and a wooden board were lying nearby. Personal belongings, including medicines, magazines and eatables, including a huge sack of onions, were scattered around the cell.

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According to sources, it was a juvenile cell, which was converted into a barrack for the four after Beant Singh's assassination.

Journalists who visited barrack # 7 had a close look at the tunnel and the exit point outside the boundary wall, which was about 10 feet away from a watchtower supposed to be manned round-the-clock by Central Reserve Police Force personnel. Coincidentally, when the four escaped, the search lights on the tower were not working.

Except for an iron rod, no tool that could be used for digging a tunnel was found in the cell.

The foursome apparently had the necessary information about the foundation of the boundary walls as they had dug up to a depth of 14feet; the foundation went as far as 10feet.

Jail sources said the accused in the Beant Singh case - Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjeet Singh - had managed to secure two mobile phones some time back. Jail authorities, however, came to know about it.

The police have not ruled out involvement of the jail staff in aiding the prisoners.

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