Thiruvananthapuram: The two women prisoners, who escaped from the Attakulangara jail in Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram district in the wee hours of Tuesday, managed to be on the run for two days and two nights before finally falling into police net.
Varkala native Sandhya and Shilpa of Palode in Thiruvananthapuram, who have been accused of theft, are reportedly the first women to break out from a prison in Kerala in recent times.
Probe revealed that they constantly outwitted people to avoid falling into the police net while on the run in the two southern districts of Kerala. Their desperate acts included cheating an autorickshaw driver out of his fare in the heart of Kerala's capital, nicking clothes from the premises of a hospital in the city and fleeing on a scooter from a second-hand bike showroom near the Kollam-Thiruvananthapuram border before finally being caught in a rubber plantation near Shilpa's residence.
The duo had reached Manakkad region after escaping from the Attakulangara jail on Tuesday evening. They took an auto to the SAT Hospital at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College by 8.30 pm. They fled after asking the driver to wait so that they could procure money from their relatives at the hospital to pay the fare. They then entered the hospital and nicked clothes left out for drying. In between, Sandhya had called her husband Binu, who soon arrived and took the women to Varkala on his bike. The women spent the night at a building in which Binu was working.
On Wednesday, they took a bus to Kottarakara in neighbouring Kollam district. A gold ornament Binu had given them was pawned for Rs 3,000 at Kappil, a tourist place in Thiruvananthapuram district. The police reached here on receiving information about them. The women then walked along the rail track to reach the house they had spent the previous night. They slept on the terrace of another house there the second night.
On Thursday morning Sandhya and Shilpa again took an auto, this time to reach Paravoor. They also made two phone calls from the auto driver's phone. Finding their behaviour suspicious, the driver dropped them off at Parippally in Kollam district. He called back to those phone numbers dialled by them and found that it was the lover of one of the women. The driver then informed the police, who stepped up surveillance at Parippally and adjacent areas.
Meanwhile, the women approached Bismi Auto Consultancy at Kadampattukonam, near Kilimanoor, as customers. They took a scooter on to the road under the pretext of test drive and vanished. The owner of this outlet, which sells second-hand two-wheelers, realised his folly and filed a complaint with the police. Fully aware that the probe now would be on to track down the bike, the criminals even changed the number of the stolen bike.
The final run
An acquaintance who saw the women on the scooter tried to follow them but soon lost track. Later, Shilpa's neighbours at Palode informed the police that they saw two women abandoning a scooter and proceeding towards the house at 9.45 pm. As the cops swarmed the region, the duo tried to flee through a rubber plantation.
The police and the local people joined in the hunt and the duo were nabbed by 10.30 pm on Thursday.