The fourteen accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts case lodged in the Sabarmati Central Jail tried to burrow their way to freedom but policemen deployed inside the premises discovered the half-complete 18-feet tunnel dug by them and nipped the breakout attempt in the bud.

Authorities said some inmates behaving in a suspicious manner near the jail garden gave the game away.

The inmates of barrack number 4, called Chhota chakkar, tried to dig the tunnel close to a toilet next to the garden, where they used to work for three hours daily and washed their utensils. It was suspected that the inmates were on the ‘job’ for almost a month.

Three of the accused are qualified engineers.

The tunnel had a five-ft-wide opening and ran parallel to a drainage line.

Officials, however, tried to downplay the incident. “This is a jail made by the Britishers. The walls are 21-feet-high, even the depth of these walls are 21 feet. Even if they had completed the tunnel it would have been impossible for them to flee,’’ said P.C Thakur, IG Prisons.