‘Ripper’ Jayanandan, the 45-year-old death row prisoner, who broke out of the Central Prison along with his cell mate on Monday, had received several money orders from his family in the months preceding his escape, according to police investigators.
Convicts are entitled to receive money orders to purchase cigarettes, FM radios, batteries, pay phone cards, and toiletries from the prison camp.
The State police suspect that the ‘Ripper,’ who is accused in eight murders, all for gain, could have stashed away the money in his cell to fund his escape.
The State police are now of the view that Jayanandan could have committed more crimes than that he stands accused off.
A senior official said the method of operation attributed to the ‘Ripper’ was evident in at least three murders in the State, which were likely to be reviewed.
Investigators said that it was likely that the fugitives could seek refuge in crowded places of pilgrimage, such as Velankanni, Puttuparthi, Shridi, in the South and also ashrams in the foothills of the Himalayas in the North.
They were in touch with their counterparts in these States to track the escapees.
Officials, investigating the escape, have been harsh in their criticism of the prison management.
Even the in/out register at the Prison gates was not properly maintained.
Prisoners were apparently not properly classified according to the level of risk of escape and the security threat they posed to jailors and other convicts.
An investigator said the prison authorities seemed to have given custodial procedures required for high risk prisoners the go by.
There rarely was any surprise checks of cells. Cell inspections, if any, seemed to be at predictable timings and in a predictable manner.
The police said that ‘influential convicts’ had access to smart phones, provided by corrupt jail staff, to make calls, view movies; use the Internet, including social networking sites under false names.
The police said that there was an urgent need to prevent even jailors from carrying mobile phones into the prison.
They also stressed the need to set up mobile jammers and scanning equipment to ensure search proper body search of prisoners and if required of staff, entering its precincts.
There seemed to be no timely appraisal and review of the prison’s surveillance and lighting systems, including its walls, barriers and fences.
Most of the security cameras in the nine acres within the high walls of the 125-year-old prison seemed to be working.
However, the police could get no image of the break-out purportedly because the camera network’s centralised recording facility was not working.
The Keltron had installed the surveillance system. But it had not provided timely maintenance ostensibly because the Home department did not sign an annual maintenance contract with it.
The police said that the staff trained to monitor the prison’s security system had been transferred out, over the years, to other smaller prisons.