New Delhi: A day after the sensational jailbreak in Punjab, escaped militant and Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief, Harminder Singh Mintoo, was arrested in Delhi on Monday.
Forty-nine-year-old Mintoo was arrested in a joint operation by Delhi Police’s Special Crime Branch and Punjab Police. A team of Punjab police will go to Delhi to bring Mintoo back for interrogation.
“Khalistan Liberation Force head Harminder Singh Mintoo has been arrested from Delhi railway station on Monday morning. He was trying to escape out of Delhi,” sources in Punjab Police confirmed from Chandigarh.
Mintoo is accused in more than 10 terror cases, including an attack on Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim. He was arrested in 2014 when he arrived from Thailand at the Delhi airport.
According to Delhi Police, Mintoo was arrested on the basis of inputs passed on by Punjab police. He was tracked down at Nizamuddin railway station, from where he was planning to travel to Mumbai.
Mintoo was hard to recognise as he had trimmed his beard and moustache to evade arrest.
Punjab Police believes Mintoo was trying to revive the Khalistan separatist movement and was allegedly in touch with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence officers.
Parwinder Singh Pinda, one of the men involved in the jailbreak, was caught later in the evening in Uttar Pradesh with a huge cache of arms. He was driving one of the SUVs used in the escape.
Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Daljit Singh Chaudhary, told media that a Self-Loading Rifle (SLR), three other rifles and several rounds of ammunition were recovered from the SUV during the search.
Punjab Director General of Police (DGP), Suresh Arora, on Monday confirmed that Mintoo was in touch with terrorist groups in Pakistan but the jailbreak conspiracy was hatched by local gangsters.
“The timely information provided by Punjab Police on the description of cars and assailants led to the arrest of escapees in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. An excellent national coordination among security forces led to the swift arrests,” Arora told Gulf News.
Besides Mintoo, the other escapees were identified as Kashmir Singh Galwadi, Harjinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, Kulpreet Singh and Amandeep Singh. The other prisoners, however, remain missing.
On Sunday morning, a dozen men disguised as policemen arrived in four cars at the gates of the maximum security Nabha jail with two handcuffed men, claiming they were bringing them back after a court hearing. After entering the jail premises, the armed men snatched the rifle of a policeman and fired more than 100 rounds. After 20 minutes, the gang drove off with six prisoners, including Mintoo.
Meanwhile, Punjab state government has sacked two senior prison officials and formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the jailbreak. Separately, it has ordered another inquiry to look into the “security lapses”. The inquiry committee will be headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Jagpal Singh Sandhu.
The Khalistan movement is a political Sikh nationalist movement that wants to create an independent state for Sikh people.