Five armed men on Tuesday freed gangster Palwinder Singh alias Pinda after firing on policemen at the local civil hospital where he was brought for dental examination.
A policeman was injured in the firing while two others suffered injuries in the eyes as the men threw chilli powder into them.
Pinda is one of the accused in the alleged killing of an assistant sub-inspector at Haveli restaurant in Jalandhar in April 2013. Later, the Patiala police had arrested him following an encounter.
The daring act led to panic in the town as the civil hospital is centrally located. It also raises a question mark over Punjab Police and the jail authorities as Pinda was freed within an hour of leaving the Nabha jail.
Pinda was brought to the hospital around 11 am in custody of three constables of Punjab Police and a van driver.
The unidentified men, who were apparently associates of Pinda, and were already present at the hospital, opened fire at the policemen and injured constable Deep Singh.
They also threw chilli powder into the eyes of the cops.
Constable Nirmal Singh said, “After being examined in jail, Pinda was referred to the civil hospital where the dentist advised an X-ray. As constable Satbir Singh went to get the slip from the registration window and I, along with Deep Singh and Pinda, started moving towards the X-ray department, the armed men arrived on the scene and attacked us with chilli powder besides opening fire.”
Eyewitnesses said the men, along with Pinda, ran towards the back gate of the hospital.
SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, SP (detective) Paramjit Singh Goraya and DSP Manpreet Singh reached the spot. Police examined the CCTV footage from the shops outside the hospital and also recovered bullet shells from the spot. Constable Deep Singh was admitted to Rajindra Hospital.
Pinda, resident of Nehaluwala village in Jalandhar, was awarded imprisonment of five years and three years in two different cases of attempt to murder in July 2014 and was facing trial in the murder of the ASI besides also being charged under the NDPS Act.
He was brought to the Nabha jail on August 24, 2015. The police are also investigating the call details of the jail telephone booth. Meanwhile, security has been upped and a manhunt is on to nab the gangster.