In a major breakthrough in the ongoing manhunt for fugitive pro-Khalistan leader and radical preacher Amritpal Singh, Punjab's Inspector General of Police (IGP), Headquarters, Sukhchain Singh Gill, on Thursday revealed that the Waris Punjab De chief's last location was in Haryana.
Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh on Thursday, the IGP said, "We are still actively searching for Amritpal Singh and have come to know that its last location was in Haryana. We have taken a woman named Baljeet Kaur into custody. Amritpal stayed at this woman's house in Kurukshetra (Haryana) and the Waris Punjab De chief and his close aide had been in touch with her for the last two-and-a-half years."
The IGP said Baljeet Kaur disclosed during questioning that both Amritpal and his key aide, Papalpreet Singh, had stayed at her house on the night of March 19.
"We arrested Baljeet Kaur with the help of Haryana Police. She disclosed during interrogation that on the night of March 19, both Papalpreet Singh and Amritpal had put up at her place. She said she had Papalpreet for more than the last couple of years and he had stayed at her house on several occasions," the IGP said.
"After staying the night, they moved out of there (her house) the next day. We are examining the CCTV footage and are hopeful of arresting Amritpal soon," he added.
The Punjab IGP informed further that Amritpal and his aide changed their two-wheeler near a gurdwara at Sehowal village in Jalandhar and tried to get a boat to get across a river.
"Our team continues to be in his trail. We are examining CCTV footage retrieved from several locations in a bid to trace his whereabouts. They changed their two-wheeler at a gurdwara at Sehowal village and tried to get a boat to cross the river. However, they failed to get one and eventually used an overbridge to get across the river," the IGP added.
"After roaming around in another two-wheeler, they hired an auto-rickshaw. After this, they were located at Kurukshetra. Gurpej (one of the four men arrested for allegedly helping Amritpal escape), who is currently in our custody, told us about another woman, apart from Baljeet Kaur, who he may turn to for refuge," the IGP added.
Gill said as many as 207 persons have been detained and of them, 30 have been arrested in different cases. They were involved in criminal cases, the IGP informed.
"We've detained 207 people so far. Of them, 30 have been arrested in different cases. They were found involved in criminal cases. Another 177 persons have been placed under preventive detention in the interest of maintaining peace, as well as law and order," said Gill.
Earlier in the day, Punjab police arrested an associate of the fugitive Waris Punjab De chief. Police identified the arrested person as Tejinder Singh aka Gorkha Baba, a resident of Punjab's Mangewal village.
"He often lived with Amritpal and was involved in the Ajnala violence as well. Gorkha Baba used to be Amritpal's gunman for a long time. Tejinder was also active on social media. Pictures of him holding weapons would often surface on social media. A separate case was registered against Tejinder in Malaud police station after the pictures surfaced," DSP Payal Harsimrat Singh told ANI.
The police informed that action has been taken against him under sections 107 and 151 of the Indian Penal Code (IPS).
"Two other people accompanying Tejinder were detained and are being interrogated," added the DSP.
The DSP informed further that Tejinder was named in an assault case and another case of liquor smuggling was also registered against him. Tejinder had served a sentence in the latter case.
On March 18, Punjab Police launched an operation against Amritpal and his aides. The crackdown came almost over three weeks after Amritpal's supporters clashed with uniformed personnel at the Ajnala police station on February 23, on the outskirts of Amritsar, demanding the release of one of his close aides, Lovepreet Toofan.
Thousands of his supporters stormed the Ajnala police station, flashing swords and high-calibre firearms and threatening the police with dire consequences if they did not release Lovepreet Toofan, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting and abducting a man. (ANI)