Nabha jailbreak: One arrested in UP for orchestrating the escape; Uttarakhand, Haryana on high alert

Ten armed men reportedly broke into the Nabha jail in Punjab and freed Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo and four other gangsters.

FP Staff November 27, 2016 10:55:51 IST
Nabha jailbreak: One arrested in UP for orchestrating the escape; Uttarakhand, Haryana on high alert

In a major breakthrough in the Nabha jailbreak case in Punjab, an arrest has been made in Shamli, Uttar Pradesh, which is 200 km from Nabha, according to ANI.

Just hours later, the alleged "mastermind" of the daring daylight jailbreak, Parminder Singh, was arrested from Kairana in Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district when the getaway vehicle — a Toyota Fortuner — was stopped at a police picket.

A self-loading rifle (SLR), three rifles and several rounds of ammunition were recovered from the SUV during the search, UP's Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljit Singh Chaudhary said.

According to CNN-News18 the arrested man has confirmed his involvement in the case in a statement to the police. Huge cashe of ammunitions was also recovered. The Additional Director General of UP Police Daljeet Singh Choudhary, told ANI that the accused was nabbed in Shamli district of western Uttar Pradesh and a huge cache of arms was recovered from his car. He also added that the UP police was on a high alert since morning, as they had information that the accused might try to go towards Nepal via UP.

Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded in Punjab's neighbouring states, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh and security has been beefed up.

Punjab government kicked into firefighting mode on Sunday, with Deputy Chief minister visiting the Nabha jail, after ten armed men broke into the prison and helped six known 'criminals and terrorists' escape. Among the escapees was another terrorist Kashmira Singh, according to Punjab police chief Suresh Arora.

Following the security breach, the Punjab government suspended the Director General (Jails) and dismissed the Nabha Jail superintendent and deputy jail superintendent and set up a special task force to look into the Nabha jailbreak incident. A manhunt was launched to trace the prisoners who escaped, the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal said.

The Punjab government also announced a reward of Rs 25 lakhs to any person providing information leading to the arrest of six escaped under-trial prisoners, ANI reported

Sukhbir also added that a special investigation team under the ADGP rank officer has also been constituted which shall look into lapses as well as any conspiracy theories surrounding the jail break incident.

"Special Investigation team has been asked to submit report within three days in this regard," he said. The Home Secretary has also been asked to submit a report on the incident.

"Home Secretary will give me a report on wherever any lapse has taken place. Whosoever will be found responsible in this incident, strict action will be taken against him," he said.

However, the Deputy CM said that there was no need to worry. "They (prisoners) will not be allowed to run away. Police is after them. We will catch them soon," he said.

In the wake of the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has called a meeting of senior officials including State Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal and a high alert had been sounded in Punjab with security around railway stations, airports, inter-state bus terminuses and other places of key importance stepped up, officials said.

The Central government, in the meanwhile, has sought a a report from the state government asking it provide details of the incident. Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi also spoke to the Punjab DGP and asked him to ensure adequate security in all jails in the state.

Jitendra Singh, the Minister of State of the PMO, said that concerned agencies will take cognisance and do what is appropriate, reported ANI.

On Sunday morning, 10 armed men in police uniform, indulged in indiscriminate firing at the prison gate to provide a cover to Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo, an accused in 10 cases, and five others to escape from jail, following which a high alert has been sounded in Punjab, reported CNN-News18.

Earlier it was reported that in all five prisoners had escaped the high security prison, but later the police confirmed that one more inmate is missing, reported CNN-News18.

The TV channel also said that the armed men were wearing police uniform and reached the jail entrance at around 9:30 am and fired over 100 rounds of ammunition at police personnel. No injuries were were reported in the incident so far.

Meanwhile, in another development, a woman was killed when police opened fire at a vehicle which had jumped a barrier. The incident occurred at a 'naka' on Patiala-Gulha Cheeka road. Police tried to stop the car, but its driver did not stop despite being asked to and when police opened fire, a woman who received the gunshot wounds was killed. Police sources said that it could not be immediately ascertained whether the woman, who was not travelling in the car which jumped the barrier, was in some other vehicle or was walking on the road when she got hit by the bullet.

Chandigarh Tribune also reported that DGP law and order HS Dhillon has confirmed the jailbreak. Several check posts have been set up across Punjab, reported CNN-News18.

The news channel also reported that Mintoo was a high-profile criminal who had links with the Inter-Serivces Intelligence (ISI) in Pakistan. Mintoo was arrested by Punjab Police from Delhi's IGI Airport in 2014, in connection with 10 cases, including the 2008 attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and recovery of explosives at Halwara Air Force station in 2010.

This incident took place in a maximum security prison at around 8.30 am.

Punjab Government spokesperson Vineet Joshi has said that "It looks that involvement of cross-border agency meaning Pakistan is possible. The incident points finger toward Pakistan."

The jailbreak incident triggered sharp reactions from the opposition with Punjab Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh alleging connivance of the Badal government in the "brazen daylight" jailbreak.

Amarinder Singh said the incident has exposed a "complete breakdown of law and order" in the state, while triggering fears of revival of terrorism ahead of the Assembly elections. The "shocking manner" in which the gangsters walked into the high-security jail and freed a dreaded Khalistani terrorist along with other convicts clearly shows complicity at the highest levels, he told reporters during the second day of the his road show in Sangrur.

Amarinder said the law and order situation in the state had "deteriorated to unprecedented levels" under the Badal regime, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari pointed out the lack of law and order in the state, according to a tweet by ANI.

With inputs from PTI

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