India police are embarrassed after drug kingpin Ranjit Singh, a.k.a Raja Kandola, escaped from custody while being transported back to Delhi’s Tihar Jail by train.
Singh flew the coop Monday around 11:30 p.m. after a court hearing in northern Punjab state, reported the Los Angeles Times. Reports differ on exactly what happened, but most agree that Singh's train made a stop in Ludhiana, about 160 miles north of New Delhi. Some say he was escorted by four officers, others say six.
According to the Hindustan Times, Singh somehow outwitted the officers when they stopped at the Ludhiana station. Police tried to locate him for some time, but ended up returning to the capital in the same train without him.
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While the details aren't clear, there are a variety of versions of what might have happened. Some sources say five of the escorting officers were asleep when the train stopped and Singh asked the sixth to buy him some tea, noted the LA Times. When he returned Singh was gone. Another possibility is that the prisoner spiked the drinks of his escorts and slipped away, although it is not clear how that might have happened.
But crime reporter Mukesh Gautam said he questions all these versions. According to the LA Times, there was a similar case a few years ago where police initially said a prisoner had escaped from a train. They later admitted he had slipped away earlier from a hotel.
Singh owns several luxury cars, including BMWs, which he used to supply drugs to his high-profile clients, reported the Times of India. Police know him as BMW Singh, not only for his cars, but also for his high-level connections across northern India. He was arrested last month by Delhi police, and had with him nearly a pound of heroin, half a pound of ephedrine and three semiautomatic firearms.