M A I N   N E W S

Jail birds fail to tunnel out
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Ambala, October 21
The jail administration of Central Jail, Ambala, thwarted a jail break attempt of prisoners undergoing death row by discovering a tunnel being dug up by them in the jail here today. Sources inside the jail here said the tunnel was being dug inside cell number 32, which is of Sanjeev Kumar, who is on death row in Relu Ram Punia murder case.

The jail staff received a tip off that a tunnel was being dug up in the cell. According to the jail staff, Sanjeev was being helped by three others — two Pakistani nationals and a Bangladeshi national. They were using a khurpi, a garden tool, to dig up the tunnel.

The prisoners hid the khurpi while doing gardening. The tunnel is said to be three feet deep and two feet wide. This is the first such instance that has come to light in the Ambala Central Jail.

Sources said cell no. 32 was situated inside a separate enclosure which was surrounded by a wall, 10 feet away from the cell. There is another wall, which was the main wall of the jail, which is 50 feet away from the Sanjeev’s cell. It would have been difficult for the three to cross the first wall without being noticed.

According to information, the jail staff had heightened the security internally. S.P. Chauhan, superintendent, Central Jail, Ambala, was unavailable for comments. Former legislator Relu Ram Punia’s daughter, Sonia, and her husband, Sanjiv Kumar were sentenced to death for killing him and seven other members of his family on May 31, 2004.

Sonia and her husband had clubbed Relu Ram Punia (50), his wife, Krishna Devi (41), daughter Priyanka (14), son Sunil Kumar (23), daughter-in-law Shakuntala Devi (20), grandson Lokesh (4), and his two granddaughters, Shivani (2) and two-month-old Preeti, to death at their farmhouse in Litani village on the night of August 23, 2001, while they were asleep.

The bodies of family members were found lying in different rooms on the first and second floors of the farm house. Relu Ram Punia, a multi-millionaire, was elected legislator from the Barwala Assembly segment as an independent candidate in 1996. Sonia is also on death row and is lodged in Central Jail, Ambala.



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