Even as the filmy-style escape of serial rapist Jaishankar from Bangalore Central jail in the early hours of Sunday caught many by surprise, sources in the prison department told The Hindu that the 26-year-old criminal could not have escaped without the help of insiders.

The second floor of the hospital block, where Jaishankar was lodged, is under continuous surveillance by three convicts turned watchmen. These watchmen are lifers and have been appointed by the prison department to keep a tab on other convicts.

They are paid for the service and their job is to keep an eye on Jaishankar and report to the prison officials anything suspicious, the sources said.

As per procedure, one of the watchmen had to lock up Jaishankar in his cell daily after 6 p.m. and hand over the keys to the security guard outside the hospital block. Even though Jaishankar had a duplicate key, it is highly improbable that he could have opened it on his own as the lock of every door is designed in such way that it can be opened only from the outside, the sources said.

This means that either the watchman on duty was aware of his plan to escape or that they had not locked the door of the cell, the sources said.

Home Minister K.J. George said the enquiry committee was probing all angles, including insiders’ involvement and the keys used for the jail break.

The Bangalore Central prison has 40 CCTV cameras of which only eight are in working condition.

According to the sources, the CCTV cameras were bought in 1996 and had a lifespan of 10 years. Though there are more than 50 high-value inmates who need 24/7 monitoring, the prison staff was managing with only eight cameras in the cells that, among others, lodge PDP leader Maudany, rowdy Tanveer and fake stamp paper kingpin Abdul Kareem Telgi.

Regular checks on the remaining inmates are part of the security process with 150 personnel on the job during the day and 50 at night.

Apart from this, there are several rounds of security checks at strategic points in the prison.

Despite this, Jaishankar had made a mockery of the security, the sources conceded.

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