Four inmates of the Borstal school at Pollachi (formerly known as a sub jail) escaped in the small hours of Saturday. All of them were aged between 19 and 21.

Though not categorised as juvenile offenders, those in the 18-21 age group are kept in the Borstal school to prevent their mingling with hardened criminals.

Prison and police sources identified the four escapees as R. Selvam (19) of Edappadi in Salem, arrested by the Salem police in a case of robbery/theft, V. Sathish alias Mookan (21) of Salem arrested by the Perumanallur police in a theft case, S. Syed Ibrahim (21) of Dharapuram arrested in a theft case and D. Komal Triki (21) arrested by the Tirupur North police in a murder case. The school is functioning from a 113-year-old building constructed with lime mortar. Using aluminium utensils, the accused made a water outlet in the toilet big enough for them to escape. The dampness in the wall made their job easy, the authorities said.

The escape was confirmed with a head count; the authorities found only 63 inmates, as against the actual 67. The police alerted all the check-posts and a hunt was launched for the four. Bus stands and railway stations were subjected to a thorough check from 3.30 a.m., to seal all the possible routes of escape. As the first two accused hailed from Salem district, police intensified vehicle checks, especially buses and trucks on that route.

Superintendent of Coimbatore Central Prison A. Murugesan visited the Borstal School and examined the escape route and held an inquiry. Mr.Murugesan ordered the suspension of Head Warders K. Nallasamy, M. Manoharan and A. Viswanathan from service on charges of dereliction of duty.

Meanwhile, Namakkal police sources confirmed that special teams led by Superintendent of Police A. Pari and DSP Velan nabbed Sathish and Komal Triki by noon. Three special teams are on the job of nabbing the other two. The secured two were being sent to Coimbatore. It was learnt that they had planned to reach Namakkal and mobilise funds and then had planned to go out of Tamil Nadu. Police said there were definite clues that would help them nab the other two accused soon.

Following an escape by two of the inmates two years ago, the sub-jail was turned into Borstal school.

Security was strengthened and the compound wall height increased.

Keywords: Borstal school