Jail break KLF chief Harminder Singh Mintoo arrested with pistol and Rs19000

Amritsar,Nov29:Barely 15 hours after armed men had stormed the Nabha jail in Punjab to free Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh Mintoo, the terrorist was re-arrested from the capital’s Nizamuddin railway station on Monday, from where he had planned to board a train to Mumbai. Mintoo’s calls to a relative in west Delhi’s Subhash Nagar, who was under surveillance, helped cops to quickly trace the KLF chief. He also visited his relatives in the capital, after which cops started to tail him, leading to his arrest.

Police said Mintoo and fellow escapee Kashmeer Singh reached Delhi after changing several vehicles and changing their appearance by trimming their beards. After escaping from the jail, Mintoo had boarded a Toyota Fortuner along with Kashmeer Singh and Gurpreet Singh Sekhon. Sekhon’s brother Mani had arranged for the car and drove the fugitives from Nabha jail to sugarcane fields near Kaithal.

At sugarcane fields near Kaithal, Mintoo and Kashmeer got off. They were given a pistol along with six rounds each, and Rs 19,000 for their journey to Mumbai. Mintoo had also establish contact with some of his family members in Goa to arrange money to travel abroad.

Mintoo and Kashmeer hid in the fields till afternoon. Meanwhile, they borrowed a pair of scissors from a farmer and trimmed their beards to change their appearance, police said. Around noon, they boarded a jeep to Kurukshetra. Thereafter, they and then took a bus to reach Panipat and Delhi. During their journey, Mintoo had called his relative in Delhi several times asking for the route to the Nizamuddin railway station. The men decided to part ways at Kashmere Gate ISBT and meet at Goa on Wednesday.

Several teams led by DCP Special Cell Pramod Kushwah were formed and placed around all the railway stations. Cops had shared Mintoo’s photographs on Whatsapp. While one team was tailing Mintoo from Subhash Nagar to Nizamuddin, cops weren’t entirely sure that this was their man.

Around 2am, the cops at the Nizamuddin railway station noticed a man wearing a turban buying a ticket to Panvel. “He moved around the station with extra caution and his beard seemed to be trimmed hurriedly. When the team confronted him, Mintoo pulled out his pistol and tried to fire but was overpowered by the team. He later identified himself as Mintoo,” said DCP Kushwah.

The sophisticated foreign-made pistol and six rounds of ammunition were recovered from him. Police also seized nearly Rs 19,000 in new currency notes.

During interrogation, Mintoo admitted that he had fired at the jail staffers in Nabha and planned to reach Panvel on the Goa express on Tuesday and then travel to Goa. There, he hoped to get his family’s support to flee the country. Mintoo’s family has been running a tourism business in Goa since 1990 and had allegedly facilitated his foreign travels in the past.

Kashmeer had planned to travel the next day on the same train to avoid suspicion. They had planned to leave for Nepal next week and then travel to Thailand, Mintoo hoped to raise money for KLF. He also admitted to have been in touch with terror organisations based in Pakistan.

A manhunt has been launched to nab Kashmeer, who is suspected to be hiding somewhere in southwest Delhi. Mintoo was slapped with charges under section 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Arm Act. He was produced before a court on Monday afternoon and given a seven days’ police custody.

 According to Punjab police records, Mintoo visited Europe in 2010 to develop contacts. In June 2013, he left from Pakistan for another 11-month tour of Europe. The other fugitives to escape in the Nabha jailbreak are gangsters Neeta Deol, Vicky Gonder, Amandeep Doda, and another terrorist, Kashmir Galwaddi.
 Mintoo who was arrested in 2014 by Punjab police in November 2014.
He was wanted in 10 terror-related cases, including the 2008 attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and the 2010 recovery of explosives at Halwara Air Force station.