The Thiruvananthapuram Rural police have launched an extensive manhunt to nab two convicts who escaped from the Open Prison at Nettukaltheri, near Neyyar, late Wednesday.
Rajesh Kumar of Kattakada and Sreenivasan of Palakkad, both undergoing life imprisonment, were reported to have gone missing from the prison around 7 p.m. They had earlier been allowed to leave the cells for farming activities on the premises. Soon, the prison officials and the police launched a massive manhunt in the region.
Rajesh, an autorickshaw driver, had been arrested for raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl at Vettikode, near Vembayam, on March 6, 2012. The case, which had created massive outrage, saw the accused being sentenced to death penalty by the trial court within a year. However, the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment by the Kerala High Court that had ruled out any parole for the convict for 25 years.
Sreenivasan had been arrested for murdering a pregnant woman in Malampuzha in 2004. While he had earlier absconded after obtaining parole, he returned to the prison. In the meantime, he used to work in a textile mill in Coimbatore. The police have not ruled out the possibility of the duo attempting to leave the State.
According to Nedumangad Dy.SP Umesh Kumar, a special team led by Maranalloor Station House Officer Bejoy has been constituted to locate the convicts.
Local resident held
The Neyyar Dam police took into custody one person, identified as Ravi, who resides near the prison, in connection with the case. He was caught on suspicion of handing over ₹28,000 and clothes allegedly given by Rajesh’s mother to him.
The Kerala Prisons have also instituted an internal probe to ascertain the possibility of any lapse on the part of prison officials. Sources claimed that Rajesh had been shifted to the Open Prison from the Poojappura Central Prison recently as part of a temporary arrangement due to the COVID-19 spread.