Amritpal booked for extortion, rioting; motorcycle recovered
Punjab Police on Wednesday booked Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh and his four accomplices for extortion and rioting at Shahkot police station.
Punjab Police on Wednesday booked Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh and his four accomplices for extortion and rioting at Shahkot police station. This is the eighth case against the radical Sikh leader, who has been on the run since the police’s crackdown on Saturday.
The case was registered on the complaint of Ranjit Singh, the granthi of the gurdwara at Nangal Ambian village, where Amritpal stayed for 45 minutes after dodging the police team on March 18.
The case was registered under Sections 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death), 148 (rioting) and 149 (unlawful assembly), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and other sections of the Arms Act.
To evade arrest, Amritpal escaped from the busy Mehatpur town market of Jalandhar district on Saturday afternoon by ditching his Mercedes car for a Maruti Brezza (PB02-EE-3343) in which he reached the Nangal Ambian gurdwara, 17km from Mehatpur, around 1.15pm.
In his statement to the police, granthi Ranjit Singh said: “Amritpal pointed a gun at my son, Tejinder Singh, and demanded clothes to change into. He threatened to kill him if he did not relent.”
During his questioning on Tuesday evening, Ranjit Singh told the police that he was not in the gurdwara when his son called up to say that Amritpal had come to pay obeisance. “Amritpal then asked for a pair of trousers and a shirt. He was given another pair as the first didn’t fit. He was served langar (food from the community kitchen). He changed his attire before leaving on a motorcycle. He was at the gurdwara for almost an hour and was waiting for someone to pick him up,” Ranjit Singh said.
Jalandhar senior superintendent of police Swarandeep Singh said Amritpal and his accomplices overpowered Ranjit Singh and his family and made them to follow his orders. “The family was in state of fear for three days before they reached the police station and narrated whole incident,” the SSP added.
Police impound motorcycle found near canal
A police official said that Amritpal changed his baptised Sikh attire and wore the shirt and trousers before fleeing on the motorcycle. “He made a few calls from the granthi’s phone. Investigation is on to verify who he contacted before leaving Nangal Ambian,” the official said.
A day after CCTV footage of Amritpal riding pillion on a motorcycle surfaced, police recovered the Bajaj Platina used by him to flee from Nangal Ambian village on March 18.
The motorcycle was found abandoned near a canal at Darapur village in Phillaur sub-division, 60km from Nangal Ambian.
The SSP said they were scanning the CCTV footage of all links roads leading to Darapur village. “Amritpal and his two accomplices --- Papalpreet Singh, who was riding a Platina motorcycle, and Vikramjit Singh, who was on another motorcycle --- went together for some kilometres before Amritpal and Papalpreet took the road towards Darapur village while Vikramjit took another route,” the SSP said.
A police official said the bike on which Amritpal was riding pillion developed a snag and they took a cart to reach a canal at Darapur village where they dumped the motorcycle and moved ahead. “It was revealed while scanning a video footage of Shekhupur village, 2km from Darapur village, in Phillaur sub-division,” the official said. The Jalandhar-New Delhi national highway is 11km from Darapur village.
Police said Papalpreet was in close contact with Pakistan’s ISI and was taking instructions from it. He is considered one of Amritpal’s mentors who had been advising him on various issues. Papalpreet had been working with Amritpal closely since he returned to India last year and took over the reins of ‘Waris Punjab De’, an organisation founded by actor Deep Sidhu, who died in a road accident in 2021, said the police.
Four handlers arrested for providing logistics
A day after the police recovered the Maruti Brezza from the house of Amritpal’s accomplice Manpreet Singh Manna at Nawan Killa, the Shahkot police arrested him along with three others for providing shelter and logistical support to Waris Punjab De chief.
Police recovered a .315-bore rifle and a walkie-talkie set from the Brezza.
The other accused were identified as Gurdeep Singh Deepa of Bal Naun village in Jalandhar district, Harpreet Singh Happy of Kotla Naudh Singh village in Hoshiarpur, and Gurbhej Singh of Godara in Faridkot.
They were booked under Sections 212 (harbouring an offender), 216 (harbouring an offender who has escaped from custody or whose apprehension has been ordered) of the IPC and other sections of the Arms Act.
The FIR said that the accused arranged two motorcycles, a Royal Enfield and a Platina, for Amritpal and his accomplices.
The SSP said Amritpal directly contacted Mandeep Manna and asked him to provide certain logistics. “Manna picked the vehicle and parked vehicle in his house before providing them motorcycles. Manna contacted Gaurav Gora, on whose father’s name the Platina motorcycle was registered,” the SSP said. Further investigation is on as all the four accused have been taken on police remand for five days, he added.