In a daring jailbreak, seven hardcore members of the banned SIMI, accused of heinous crimes including murder, today escaped from the district prison here after stabbing two security guards, looting rifles and snatching wireless sets.
Following the audacious prison break, which could not be thwarted despite an exchange of fire, the Centre has sought an explanation from the Madhya Pradesh government, which launched a manhunt and apprehended one of the escapees.
The seven undertrial prisoners included two who had shot dead three persons in a broad daylight a few years back.
Additional Director General (Prisons) Muniraju told PTI in Bhopal that the undertrials used bedsheets as ropes to scale the towering wall before escaping on two motorcycles parked in the premises around 3.30 AM.
The prisoners, who broke the wall of the bathroom in their escape bid, were challenged by two constables whom they stabbed with knives and snatched their rifles, Khandwa Superintendent of Police Manoj Sharma said.
There was an exchange of fire as two jawans of the Cheetah force tried to prevent the escape. However, they too were overpowered.
The outlaws grabbed their rifles and wireless sets before fleeing.
Injured constables Lokesh Hirve and Suro Tiwari have been hospitalised, Sharma said.
The seven SIMI activists have been identified as Amjad, Aslam, Zakir, Mehboob (all from Khandwa), Ejazuddin (of Narsinh Yard, Kareli), Abu Faizal (from Juhu in Mumbai) and Aabid Mirza (of Oont Kuwan, Hatampura in Khandwa).
Aabid Mirza was, however, apprehended hours later from Sarvodaya Colony here.
Taking a serious note of the brazen escape, the Union Home Ministry has asked the state government to explain the circumstances leading to the jailbreak and measures taken to nab the escapees, official sources said.
State's minister for jails Antar Singh Arya has asked principal secretary of his department to conduct a probe. Students Islamic Movement of India, banned in 2001, is alleged to have links with home-grown terror outfit Indian Mujahideen and several of its top leaders are in jail.