Probe: JK Home dept ignored warnings
Srinagar: Investigations into the escape of dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Mohammed Naveed Jhatt from a busy hospital has brought to the fore lapses at different stages, especially the failure of the prosecution wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police as well as the state home department over hurriedly issuing orders for transfer of the accused to a central jail here from Kathua in the Jammu region, it has emerged.
Piecing together events before the escape of 22-year-old Jhatt from the SMHS hospital on February 6, it has been found that the accused had moved a habeas corpus petition before a single bench of Jammu and Kashmir High court in Srinagar which ordered his lodging "preferably in a jail in Kashmir division" on November 19, 2016.
After the High court order, the state home department issued a stand alone order dated January 27, 2017 directing for compliance of the direction of the High court and shifting Jhatt, a Pakistani national who infiltrated into the Kashmir valley in 2014 for spreading terrorism, from Kathua jail to the central jail in Srinagar with "immediate effect".
The order, a copy of which is available with PTI, was issued on behalf of state's Principal Secretary (Home) by the then Special Secretary Dilshad Shaheen. A senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, feels that there was an undue haste in the case of Jhatt and explained further that such hardcore terrorists could have been easily booked under the Public Safety Act and lodged again in a jail outside the Kashmir Valley.
"The second course that could have been taken was to challenge the single bench order of the high court and reason out that he (Jhatt) should be kept away from other inmates as he was a highly motivated terrorist," said the official, who has been dealing with terror-related cases.
The high court order was also not specific about any prison in the Kashmir division and had left it to the government's to choose an appropriate jail, he said, adding "Jhatt could have been kept at Anantnag prison in South Kashmir which is more secure or at Humhama jail where hardcore terrorists are often kept. The high court was vague about the choice of prison."