The brains behind the escape of Khalistan leader and Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh from police dragnet was Papalpreet Singh, the 38-year-old alleged mentor of the fugitive, who was in close contact with Pakistan's ISI and was taking instructions from it, reported PTI.
Papalpreet is considered to be one of Amritpal's mentors who had been advising him on various issues, officials told the agency. He had been working with Amritpal closely since he returned to India last year.
Amritpal also took over the reins of Waris Punjab De, an organisation founded by actor Deep Sidhu, who died in a road accident in 2021.
How did he help Amritpal Singh escape?
According to the PTI report, Papalpreet was seen driving a motorcycle with Amritpal on the pillion seat. The two-wheeler was found deserted at Phillaur in Jalandhar district of Punjab.
Officials said Papalpreet was taking instructions from the ISI to raise the bogey of Khalistan in Punjab and was working to plunge the state into the dark days of terrorism. They said it was on his instructions that Amritpal changed his appearance from a radical Sikh preacher to an ordinary person and finally abandoned the motorcycle at a canal in Phillaur.
The Punjab Police also released a combo of seven pictures of Amritpal Singh's different looks.
Who else helped Amritpal Singh escape?
Last month, Punjab Police arrested four people for allegedly helping the fugitive escape their net. They were interrogated by the Punjab Police which provided some insight into the role of Papalpreet in Amritpal dodging the police, officials told PTI.
They said Papalpreet took the motorcycle arranged by Manpreet Singh and Gurdeep Singh, famously known as 'Manna and Deepa', who run local gangs in Punjab. They escorted Amritpal to a gurdwara at Nangal Ambian village in Jalandhar where he changed his looks, put on a pink turban and black goggles before fleeing.
A photo doing rounds on social media platforms showed Amritpal on a bike, riding pillion, wearing a pink turban and black sunglasses.
Another CCTV footage of the Jalandhar toll plaza, which appeared on social media on Tuesday, showed Amritpal Singh escaping in the SUV. He was in his Mercedes vehicle but later switched to Brezza SUV during the police action, suggesting that he tried to change his appearance to get away from the eyes of the police.
Where is Papalpreet Singh?
After he went on the run with Amritpal, police circulated Papalpreet's pictures throughout Punjab and in neighbouring states. He was finally arrested on April 10.
Papalpreet was arrested from Amrtisar's Kathu Nangal area, according to a report in Hindustan Times.
The report said, "Amritpal and Papalpreet travelled together, changing vehicles, as they escaped the chase by the police. From Punjab, they fled to Haryana and probably to Delhi, as captured in CCTV footage, before they entered Punjab again."