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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Hong Kong court clears extradition of wanted gangster Ramanjit Singh Romi

Ramanjit Singh Romi is accused of funding Nabha jailbreak and targetted killings of religious leaders in Punjab

chandigarh Updated: Nov 21, 2019 06:04 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Ramanjit Singh Romi was arrested in Hong Kong in connection with a Rs 30-crore robbery in February 2018 .
Ramanjit Singh Romi was arrested in Hong Kong in connection with a Rs 30-crore robbery in February 2018 .(ANI Photo)
         

In a major success for Punjab Police, a Hong Kong court on Tuesday ordered the extradition of wanted gangster Ramanjit Singh Romi in connection with Nabha jailbreak that occurred in November 2016. He is also wanted in a series of targeted killings of socio-religious leaders in Punjab in 2016 and 2017.

According to various reports published in newspapers in Hong Kong, Magistrate Pang Leung-ting of the Eastern Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of the Indian government.

The reports suggest that Romi’s lawyers contested the order of committal to custody by challenging the evidence against him, arguing that his extradition was merely a “smokescreen for persecuting him as a young Sikh in support of a separatist movement Khalistan”.

AIG, organised crime control unit (OCCU) Gurmeet Chauhan, who has been persistently following the case, confirmed the court orders. “Further action will be taken only after receiving the official confirmation,” he said when asked about the timing of extraditing the gangster to Punjab.

A news report published in South China Morning Post claims that the 30-year-old can be removed from Hong Kong in 15 days at the earliest, counting from the date of the court ruling.

Referendum-2020 promoter and Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannum is learnt have provided legal aid to the gangster to stop his extradition. Romy, who was born in Bhinderkhurad village in Dharamkot tehsil of Moga, had jumped bail in a case of car theft and escaped to Hong Kong two months after his arrest in June 2017.

The officials dealing with the extradition case say, backed by documentary evidences provided by the Punjab Police, India fought the case strongly in the court.

Romy was arrested in Hong Kong in connection with a ₹30-crore robbery in February 2018 but he was exonerated of these charges earlier this year. He was in local police custody since Indian government filed a plea of his extradition, claiming that the crime in which he is wanted in India is equal to 28-serious offences in Hong Kong.

Punjab Police claim that the Hong Kong authorities were given repeated dossiers about Romi working as a bond between gangsters in India and the ISI of Pakistan. According to Punjab Police investigation into the targeted killings in the state, including the high-profile killing of RSS’s Punjab vice-chief Brig (retd) Jagdish Gagneja, Romy had funded these killings.

Romy, considered to be a puppet in the hands of Babbar Khalsa leaders operating in Pakistan, was in touch with another key conspirator of the targeted killings and another UK resident Jagtar Singh Jaggi Johal, police claim.

He is also accused of funding the Nabha jailbreak in November 2016, in which Khalistan Liberation Force (KCF) chief Harminder Singh Mintoo, another militant Kashmir Singh, and gangsters Vicky Gounder, Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, Neeta Deol and Amandeep Dhotian escaped after armed men stormed the prison in Patiala district.

Blurb Romi is accused of funding Nabha jailbreak and targetted killings of religious leaders in Punjab