Khalistani militant Mintoo, who fled Nabha jail, nabbed at Delhi railway station
A Sikh militant leader who escaped after 10 gunmen stormed a Punjab jail was arrested by the Delhi Police from a city railway station early on Monday.
The self-styled chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force, Harminder Singh Mintoo, who was freed from the Nabha jail in Paitala with his aide and four gangsters on Sunday, was nabbed from Nizamuddin station, special commissioner of police (special cell) Arvind Deep said.
“Punjab Police had suspicion about his movement towards Delhi and they contacted Delhi Police. Following intensive checking and tracking, he was arrested from the railway station,” the officer said of the arrest made at around 3am.
The arrest followed the interrogation of Palwinder Singh alias Pinda, one of the 10 gunmen to attack the jail.
Pinda was in the car in which Mintoo was driven off from the jail when he was arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli late on Sunday.
He told the Uttar Pradesh Police that the two of them travelled together till Panipat in Haryana, which is 85km from Delhi, where Mintoo got off to leave for Delhi.
The UP Police alerted their Delhi counterparts. Mintoo was planning to take shelter with a relative in west Delhi’s Subhash Nagar, sources said.
“He was arrested after he made contact with one of his relatives in Subhash Nagar. The intercepted phone call helped in the arrest,” news agency IANS quoted a senior officer of the Delhi Police’s special cell as saying.
A Punjab Police officer in Chandigarh said a team would leave for Delhi to bring back the militant.
Ten gunmen dressed as policemen tricked their way into the Nabha jail on Sunday morning. They fired more than 200 rounds before escaping with the six inmates in three cars.
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The audacious attack lasted not more than 10 minutes, indicating the attackers were familiar with the jail layout and routine. One of the gangsters who escaped had planned the operation, Pinda told the police.
Mintoo’s escape came as a huge embarrassment for the Punjab Police. The 49-year-old was arrested in November 2014 at the New Delhi airport after he was deported from Thailand.
He was wanted in at least 10 terrorism-related offences, including the 2008 attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and recovery of explosives at Halwara air force station in 2010.
Efforts were on to nab the others, officials said.
The Khalistan Liberation Force was founded after the 1984 Operation Bluestar when the Indian Army stormed the holiest Sikh shrine the Golden Temple in Amritsar to flush out militants, triggering widespread anger.
The KLF remained among the most dreaded of the Sikh organisations fighting for a separate homeland of Khalistan till 1993 when several of its frontline militants were killed in a ruthless anti-terrorist campaign led by Punjab Police chief KPS Gill.
(With agency inputs)
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