Shocking lapses in Punjab Jailbreak that helped KLF ‘chief’ escape

KLF chief Mantoo escaped

About 10 gunmen disguised as policemen tricked their way into Punjab’s high-security Nabha prison, stabbed a guard at the gate, fired automatics, and escaped with a Khalistani militant group commander, his sidekick and four gangsters in a daring jailbreak.

Besides the militants, the fugitives include gangsters Harjinder Singh alias Vicky Gondar, Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, Kulpreet Singh alias Neeta, and Amandeep Singh alias Bura.

The stunned jail guards offered no resistance and couldn’t allegedly fire a single shot to stop the self-styled chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), Harminder Singh Mintoo, his aide Kashmir Singh Galwadi and another four prisoners from escaping.

Their rescuers fired more than 200 rounds before escaping in getaway cars — a sedan, a hatchback and an SUV. The entire operation lasted not more than 10 minutes, indicating the attackers were familiar with the jail’s layout and routine.

When constables flagged down a Haryana-registered white SUV, he jumped from the vehicle and tried to escape. The constables chased and caught him in a congested market alley.

“He has confessed to the crime. Mintoo was with Palvinder in the car but he got down at Panipat. Police have recovered two more vehicles used in the Punjab jail attack, a sedan and a hatchback,” additional director general of police Daljeet Singh Chowdhary said.

Pinda was arrested for killing an assistant sub-inspector in Jalandhar in 2013. But he escaped this March with the help of aides when he was undergoing treatment at a Patiala government hospital.

The 49-year-old Mintoo 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.

Galwadi, 30, was arrested for shooting at a Shiv Sena leader in Gurdaspur last April.

The 28-year-old Gurpreet alias Gopi is on trial for murder, kidnap, extortion and highway robberies. A trained flight attendant, he comes from an affluent family that owns brick kilns.

A reward of Rs 25 lakh was offered for information on the fugitives and a high alert sounded in Punjab, Haryana, UP and New Delhi with security around railway stations, airports, bus terminuses and other public places stepped up.