‘Jail escapee’, who was arrested on Saturday, was never in jail!

KATHMANDU: Police on Wednesday revealed that Rawanjit Tamang aka Sanki of Kavre, who was said to have escaped Sindhupalchowk District Prison on April 25 after the earthquake and arrested on July 11, never went to the jail. It turns out the so-called fugitive had sent someone else to Sindhupalchowk Prison and he himself was walking free all the while.

Police in the wee hours of Saturday had arrested Rawanjit from Babylon Discotheque. He was injured in police firing. The Metropolitan Police Crime Division was after Rawanjit based on information that he was among 216 jailbirds who escaped Sindhupalchowk District Prison, capitalising on the April 25 earthquake.

SSP Sarbendra Khanal, in-charge, MPCD, told mediapersons on Wednesday that Rawanjit, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail on a drug smuggling case by Kathmandu District Court on May 3, 2012, was found to have managed to hoodwink the prison administration by convincing Raj Kumar Tamang, 29, of Nuwakot, to go to jail in his place.

“Rawanjit had lured Raj Kumar into going to jail in his place by promising financial benefits,” said SSP Khanal. “Earlier, we thought Rawanjit escaped the Sindhupalchowk District Prison and was hiding in Kathmandu.”

According to the MPCD, Raj Kumar, who was arrested on a motorcycle theft charge, was referred to Dilli Bazaar Prison on May 9, 2012 after he failed to post Rs 75,000 bail. Rawanjit had made acquaintance of Raj Kumar in Dilli Bazaar Prison.

On February 22, 2013, some jailbirds, including Rawanjit and Raj Kumar, doing time in Dilli Bazaar Prison were transferred to Sindhupalchowk District Prison.

In course of collecting the ‘letter of transfer’ from Dilli Bazaar Prison, Rawanjit and Raj Kumar exchanged the papers. Rawanjit played Raj Kumar, posted Rs 75,000 bail and walked free. Raj Kumar was sent to Sindhupalchowk Prison as Rawanjit. But on April 25, when the earthquake destroyed the prison wall, Raj Kumar fled. He then met Rawanjit in Kathmandu. “Rawanjit provided Raj Kumar an undisclosed amount of money and convinced him to surrender before Bhimphedi Prison, Makawanpur, on May 14, saying that police could apprehend him and suspect our plot,” informed SSP Khanal.

He said the MPCD has written to the Department of Prison Management to cooperate with it in further investigation to establish whether jail administration and their officials were involved in sending Raj Kumar to jail in place of Rawanjit.

According to Section 24(3) of the Prison Act, 1963, if a prisoner flees, he/she will be punished with imprisonment for additional term of one and half times of the remaining term of imprisonment once re-arrested.

Case that makes police’s head spin

• Raj Kumar Tamang of Nuwakot fled Sindhupalchowk Prison on April 25 after the earthquake destroyed the prison wall

• Police thought it was Rawanjit Tamang aka Sanki who fled the jail

• Following the earthquake, police issued notice, asking escapee to turn

themselves in and simultaneously launched manhunt to nab the escapees

• Raj Kumar came to Kathmandu and met Rawanjit who provided him some money and convinced him to turn himself in to Bhimphedi Prison

• On Saturday police arrested Rawanjit from a discotheque in Kathmandu

• It is revealed that Rawanjit never went to Sindhuplachowk Prison, it was

Raj Kumar doing time all the while in place of Rawanjit