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Intelligence failure let Amritpal flee: HC

Updated on: 22 March,2023 07:46 AM IST  |  Chandigarh
Agencies |

It’s hard to believe that his aides were arrested, but he managed to escape a meticulously planned op, observes HC; state says, ‘it happens sometimes’

Intelligence failure let Amritpal flee: HC

Pro-Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh in Amritsar. File picAFP

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday rapped the state government over the “intelligence failure” that allowed pro-Khalistan preacher Amritpal Singh to escape a meticulously planned op. 

The HC was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Advocate Imaan Singh Khara, seeking the “release” of Amritpal from alleged police custody.

The whole operation was meticulously planned and the entire state machinery swung into action on Saturday, yet Amritpal managed to escape while all his associates were arrested, Justice N S Shekhawat observed and said it was hard for him to believe this.

“You have 80,000 police [personnel]. How has he not been arrested? If he escaped, this is an intelligence failure. The entire police force is after him,” said the bench.

Also Read: Cops still haven’t found Amritpal Singh

Replying to the court 

queries, Punjab Advocate General Vinod Ghai said, “It happens sometimes. The G20 summit was also going on.” He added that the state police was fully armed but exercised restrain due to security issues as the operation occurred at a public place.  The Punjab government also informed the court that the stringent National Security Act (NSA) has been invoked against Amritpal.

The HC appointed Advocate Tanu Bedi as amicus curiae to assist the court Earlier in the day, the international borders with Nepal, Pakistan and others were alerted considering the possibility that Amritpal might flee the country. The Union home ministry has asked the chiefs of Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) to be on alert.

Changed clothes, fled on bike

Later on Tuesday, the Punjab police said they have arrested four people for helping Amritpal escape. They helped him to escape in a car, and during their questioning, it came to the fore that he went to a gurdwara in Jalandhar, police said.

“There he changed his clothes, and wore a shirt and pants, and escaped along with three others on two bikes,” Punjab Inspector General of Police (Headquarters) Sukhchain Singh Gill said told reporters.

Amritpal’s de-addiction centre shut down

Punjab police on Tuesday shut down a drug de-addiction centre run by Amritpal Singh in Jallupur Khera of the Amritsar district. Gurmukh Singh, its caretaker, said, “Police conducted a search and asked us to shut down the centre. Seventy people who had arrived for treatment were sent back.” Police found nothing here, he added. 

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