Drug smuggler who escaped from custody on Sept 6 held
Around 50 days after a drug smuggler had managed to flee from police custody, the district police have nabbed him and his accomplice on Wednesday.
Accused Navjot Singh alias Nannu had turned fugitive since September 6 after he dodged the Patiala Central Jail personnel while undergoing treatment at Government Rajindra Hospital.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu said that a team of the Patiala crime investigation agency (CIA) was tracking the accused’s movements and arrested him along with his accomplice Dimple Kumar, who had helped him escape.
“The CIA unit had laid a trap and arrested both the accused from Dhablan village when the duo was travelling in a Delhi-registered Toyota Corolla vehicle,” the SSP said.
SSP Sidhu added that Navjot deposed that after fleeing from police custody, he had camped in Himachal Pradesh and some religious places in Uttar Pradesh.
Superintendent of police (SP) Harmeet Singh Hundal, who is investigating the matter, said that following Navjot’s arrest, police have recovered two sim cards registered in England.
“Following his escape from police custody, the accused was using these sim cards with international roaming pack to operate,” the SP said.
Police have already suspended head constable Jaswant Singh and jail warden Sukhwinder Singh from dereliction of duty immediately after the accused had fled from police custody on September 6.
Police said that Navjot had pre-planned his escape and during his judicial custody at the Patiala Central Jail, he had intentionally complained of heart pain following which he was rushed to Rajindra hospital.
“Navjot’s accomplice was already present outside the hospital. Head constable Jaswant Singh took the accused to a nearby dhaba outside the hospital for dinner, from where the accused managed to flee,” police said.
CIA in-charge Shaminder Singh said that Navjot owns unaccountable assets worth ₹66.75 lakh and was first arrested on July 18.
“The court has already ordered attachment of Navjot’s moveable and immovable properties with the case as it was made using drug money,” the CIA in-charge said.
On further probe, police discovered 13 bank accounts in the name of the accused, his wife and other relatives. “We have recovered ₹66.75 lakh unaccounted cash — ₹60 lakh in his wife’s accounts and ₹6.77 lakh in his in-laws’ accounts,” said police.
Police had also recovered 100gm heroin, 1,030 intoxicating tablets, 190gm gold ornaments and ₹3.25 lakh from his possession and registered a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.