Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Suresh Arora on Sunday admitted that “conspiracy, connivance and lapses” led to the Nabha jailbreak, in which two suspected Khalistani terrorists and four dreaded gangsters escaped.
“There are lapses. There is a conspiracy, as we can see. We will investigate everything. We will look into connivance (angle too),” Arora told media persons outside the maximum security jail where 10-12 armed men barged in earlier on Sunday to free the six high-profile prisoners after firing indiscriminately.
As jail security failed to respond to the attack, the DGP said: “We will look into why our firing was not effective.”
He said the escapees as well as those who helped them break free drove towards Haryana, about 30 km away.
“Their location is being traced,” Arora said.
The DGP said that 30-35 rounds were fired during the jailbreak even as eyewitnesses claimed at least 100 rounds were fired.
“They (attackers) made the excuse that they have come to drop a prisoner. The sentry opened the gate. They were carrying small firearms. Six criminals, namely Harminder Mintoo and Kashmir Singh (both terrorists), and Gurpreet Sekhon, Vicky Gounder, Amandeep Dhotian and Neeta Deol (all gangsters) escaped,” the DGP said.
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the home portfolio, tweeted: “Pak(istan) desperate to revive terror post-surgical strike. Could be behind jail-break.”
“We will uncover the conspiracy behind terrorist-gangster Nabha jail-break at all costs,” he said in another tweet.
The jailbreak has put a question mark on security in Punjab ahead of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference in Amritsar on December 2 and 3, in which top leaders from various countries are expected to participate.
The state government has announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh to any person providing information leading to the arrest of these six escaped undertrial prisoners.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed by the Punjab Police to investigate the escape of six under-trials.