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High Court raps Punjab govt over inability to nab Amritpal Singh, seeks status report on police operations

March 21, 2023 05:07 PM

Chandigarh: Taking the Punjab government to task for its inability to apprehend Amritpal Singh, leader of the Waris Punjab De outfit, who is on the run for the past four days, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the state to file a status report on the police operations being undertaken to nab the pro-Khalistan activist.

The Bench of Justice NS Shekhawat was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the preacher’s legal advisor, Iman Singh Khara, alleging that Punjab Police has illegally kept Amritpal in its custody and seeking that he be produced before the court.

Stating that it seemed to be an “intelligence failure” if Amritpal could not be apprehended, the High Court questioned Advocate General Vinod Ghai on why the pro-Khalistan activist has not been arrested when there were 80,000 police personnel in the state and 5-6 FIRs have been registered in the matter.

The High Court was also informed that provisions of the stringent National Security Act had been invoked against Amritpal Singh and that all his close aides and associates have already been arrested. The Bench also questioned the advocate general as to how the preacher alone was able to give police the slip when others could be nabbed.

Ghai also told the court that Amritpal Singh had been declared a fugitive and his role was being probed in several different criminal cases. He added that some details about the ongoing investigations could not be revealed in open court.

The Punjab Police had launched a massive manhunt four days ago to nab Amritpal. This comes about a month after he and his supporters broke into Ajnala police station with weapons and managed to free one of his associates from custody. Six police officials were injured in the clash.

In an affidavit submitted before the court during the hearing today, Satinder Singh, Superintendent of Police, Amritsar Rural, said that Amritpal Singh, who is a permanent resident of Jallupur Khera in Amritsar District, is absconding from law and raids have been conducted to apprehend and detain him.

Since he is concealing himself, the orders to arrest him issued by the District Magistrate, Amritsar, under section 3(2) of the National Security Act, 1980, could not be implemented. The Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Baba Bakala, Amritsar has now issued non-bailable warrants against Amritpal Singh.

The affidavit, which also details the police operations undertaken so far, avers that the allegations levelled in the petition that Amritpal Singh was detained from the area of Shahkot in Jalandhar District are wrong and incorrect and vehemently denied. Amritpal Singh was neither arrested, nor detained or taken into custody at any point of time by any police force of Punjab Police, the affidavit claims.

During the proceedings in the high court, Amritpal Singh's father Tarsem Singh was also present. He tried to address the court but the Bench said that since he was not a party to the case, he should first move an application if he had any submission.


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