Nagaraj was allowed to share a room at a hotel with a woman, claims local police officer in Manipal station

Contradicting the claim of Kerala police officers that Nagaraj Balegar, a career criminal, escaped from their custody at Udupi railway station, the local police here say that the under-trial slipped away due to the negligence of the two escorting officers.

Kerala civil police officer Abdul Salim K.A. and police constable Ancil had claimed that Nagaraj escaped from their custody while on their way to Udupi from the railway station.

A police official in Manipal station said it was a case “of gross negligence of duty” on the part of the policemen that led to Nagaraj’s escape. The two policemen escorted the under-trial to Udupi on August 28 from Thrissur. Nagaraj called a woman named Lakshmi from one of the policeman’s mobile phone and asked her to book two rooms at a hotel at Ontibettu near Hiriyadka, about 12 km from Udupi. All four stayed overnight at the hotel, with Nagaraj and Lakshmi occupying a room and the policemen another. The policemen found both Nagaraj and Lakshmi missing the next morning. They had requested the hotel staff not to disclose the matter, the police official at the station claimed.

Questioning the contention of the Kerala police team that Nagaraj’s one hand was handcuffed, he said a pair of handcuffs was found in the bag of one of the policemen. “A negligence report on the incident will be sent to Thrissur police,” the official said. More evidence is required to book a case against the Kerala police team. “A team of local officials trying to trace Nagaraj,” he said.

Nagaraj, from Sagar in Shimoga district, was to be produced before a Udupi court on Wednesday in connection with a house-breaking and a theft case.

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