The mysterious escape of three Pakistan nationals, who were awaiting deportation after serving their sentences and had been kept at the Lampur detention centre in Outer Delhi, has left the Delhi police wondering who the custodian of the detention centre is.

“The Lampur compound houses a beggars’ home and a detention/transit centre for foreigners in the deportation list. The detention centre houses both Pakistan and other foreign nationals, but its administration is largely overseen by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office,” said a senior police officer.

The Special Branch issues restraining order in case of Pakistan nationals under Section 3 of the Foreigners Act, whereas the FRRO does the same in case of those from other countries. Hence, many believe that the Special Branch is responsible for Pakistan nationals and the FRRO for the others.

“The restraining order confines them under specified jurisdiction. This because foreigners awaiting deportation do not have the requisite documents (visa) allowing them a free movement here,” said the officer. The foreign nationals governed by such a restraining order are kept at the Lampur centre, pending deportation.

“We will have to find out whether the jurisdiction and responsibilities of the Special Branch and the FRRO have been defined on paper when it comes to the issue of keeping the foreigners at the Lampur centre,” the officer said.

While the police officers are trying to find out who is the overall in-charge of the Lampur centre, there is also a question mark over who directed Sub-Inspector Dinamuni Singh of the Meghalaya police, presently part of an Indian Reserve Battalion unit posted at the centre, to take the three Pakistan nationals to the Guru Nanak Eye Centre for a check-up.

“The Sub-Inspector was the security in-charge at the centre. He did not inform us or the local police about it. Preliminary findings suggest that he, instead, chose to take the Pakistan nationals to the hospital on his own. As a practice, we are informed whenever a Pakistan national is taken out of the centre for any purpose,” claimed a Special Branch official.

After conducting an inquiry into the incident, the Special Branch is learnt to have submitted a report to the police headquarters on Sunday. The S-I and some others have been questioned to recreate the sequence of events leading up to the escape.

Incidentally, four Nigerian nationals had allegedly escaped from the Lampur detention centre in 2005.

However, they were arrested in March 2007, sources said.

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