Until his amazing arrest on Tuesday night by the Punjab Police, with which ended a major operation launched in June 2012, militant Narain Singh Chaura's safe hideout used to be in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
While quietly trying to revive militancy in the border state of
Punjab and leading his operations by using the fictitious name of "Randheer Singh, son of Kundan Singh of village and post office Chabba", on the hit list of this 62-year-old militant were Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini, said top police sources privy to the initial interrogation.
A well-placed Delhi-based source in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) disclosed that the IB's top officers were in constant touch with the state police and updating the latter about the tremors this arrest has caused among Khalistan sympathisers.
Chaura, who was instrumental in the sensational 2004 Burail jailbreak he was released on bail in April 2005 was incidentally then interrogated by Saini himself.
A post-graduate in political science, Chaura was the only top militant of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) living in India. His main mentors included another militant Joga Singh, based in the UK.
Police sources say the militant used to enter Punjab at dawn on a motorcycle and leave the state at dusk after meeting his modules. Chaura had also procured a driving licence on the fake name of Randheer Singh.
With this arrest, police sources say, the police will now have a foothold in the BKI. "Earlier, we were in the dark about the activities being planned by the BKI," a senior cop said.
"The Punjab Police were only bothered about this militant, who is not only a hard nut to crack but also known for having the potential to create trouble in Punjab. This is why a serious operation was launched in 2012 to nab him," a senior police functionary said.
Initial questioning has revealed that the hardcore militant never carried a cell phone and would talk to his contacts using the public call office or others' cell phones.
The police seized a computer, a pen drive and other things from one of his hideouts in Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur).
The six-foot-two-inch strapping militant with a flowing beard was a religious preacher before jumping into militancy. He founded the Khalistan Liberation Army and also remained its chief.
When asked how the militant was nabbed, Saini ducked the query, saying, "I would request that let the investigations be completed..."