Mumbai: In an huge security lapse by the Mumbai police, Indian Mujahideen operative and Ahmedabad blasts case accused Afzal Usmani escaped from the police custody on Friday.
The Indian Mujahideen operative reportedly ran and escaped from a corridor outside the MCOCA court while he was being produced in the court by the Mumbai police.
Two policemen Assistant police inspector Chopade and ASI Deshmukh have been suspended after Usmani escaped from police custody from the court complex. Reports say that there are usually at least 10 policemen in the corridor from where he escaped.
The court from where Usmani fled is situated in the heart of Mumbai and is also in close proximity to the Mumbai DGP office. The court building has 5 floors with limited entry and exit gates where guards are posted on all gates 24x7.
The court houses two buildings and each floor of both old and the new buildings are connected by a lobby. Usmani fled from the 5th floor where the MCOCA court is situated where Usmani had been brought for the hearing.
The MCOCA court is a small room with a seating capacity of just 30 people. Around 1.30 pm on Friday, 23 accused in relation to the Surat and Ahmedabad blasts were brought to the court from Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai. The accused were thereafter divided into two groups, and Usmani was seen in the corridor outside the court.
At least 10 policemen, other than the 4 policemen escorting the accused were present in the corridor. It was at 2.45 pm when the court reassembled after lunch that the police realised that Usmani was missing.
Sources said that one of the back gates of the court complex is usually open during lunch hours and could have been the escape route for Usmani. It is also being said that it is close to impossible for Usmani to have fled without the help of an insider.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police has said that they are looking into the matter and would ensure his arrest.
Usmani, who police claim was a car thief was first arrested in 2008. His arrest had led to a series of revelation in connection to the Indian Mujahideen's role in several terror cases. He was shifted to Mumbai from Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat three months ago.