Chandigarh, Nov 28 (IANS) Security agencies on Monday continued their hunt of six high-profile prisoners, including two terrorists and four gangsters, who had escaped after a sensational jailbreak at the maximum security Nabha Jail in Punjab a day earlier.
Police and security agencies were alerted in six states, including Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Routes towards Nepal were also being checked.
“Raids are being conducted at various places. It appears that the prisoners who escaped and their attackers went in separate directions soon after escaping from the Nabha prison,” a senior Punjab Police officer told IANS on Monday.
In neighbouring Haryana, the Haryana and Punjab Police confirmed the recovery of a Hyundai Verna car from a village in Kaithal district. The abandoned car was one of the getaway vehicles used by the escaped prisoners and their attackers.
“On search of the car, we recovered a police uniform and some mobile numbers. We are investigating this. The registration number plates of the car are fake,” a Haryana police official in Kaithal said.
Six criminals, including Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo, Kashmir Singh (both terrorists) and dreaded gangsters Gurpreet Sekhon, Vicky Gounder, Amandeep Dhotian and Neeta Deol, had escaped from the Nabha Jail after the attack.
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Sunday evening nabbed gangster Parvinder Singh, who admitted to being one of the attackers in the jailbreak, from near Shamli town in western Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh ADG (Law and Order) Daljeet Chowdhary said that Parvinder, who was in a Toyota Fortuner SUV, was intercepted by police in the western UP district in the evening and arrested.
A haul of weapons, including three rifles and one SLR (self loading rifle) was also recovered from the vehicle.
“The Punjab Police has been informed about the arrest. He is being questioned for further leads on his accomplices. He is the main accused in the jailbreak,” Chaudhary said.
A high alert was sounded across north India after armed men, said to be 10-12 in number, attacked the maximum security Nabha jail. The attackers, dressed in police uniform, came in three-four cars and breached the tight security of the prison around 9 a.m.
Witnesses said the attackers fired at least 100 rounds during a well-planned and executed attack that lasted barely 10 minutes.
Despite several rounds of firing, no one was injured. Official sources said the security in the jail did not retaliate, raising suspicion.
DGP Arora admitted that “conspiracy”, “connivance” and “lapses” led to the incident.
A young woman, Neha, who was a dancer with a dance troupe, was killed as a police team fired at a car which did not stop at a security barricade near Samana town.
Punjab DGP Suresh Arora admitted that the incident was a case of “mistaken identity”.
A security lockdown was ordered along Punjab’s border with Haryana and Rajasthan and with Pakistan.
The Punjab government has announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh to anyone giving information leading to the arrest of the six prisoners.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who visited the jail on Sunday afternoon, tweeted: “Pak(istan) desperate to revive terror post surgical strike. Could be behind jail break.
“We will uncover the conspiracy behind jailbreak at all costs,” he added.
The Punjab government suspended the Additional DGP, Jails M.K. Tiwari. The Nabha Jail Superintendent and his deputy were dismissed from service, Badal said.
Several top terrorists, gangsters and criminals are lodged in the Nabha Jail, located about 100 km from Chandigarh.