In a huge embarrassment for Uttar Pradesh police, their Punjab counterparts have alleged that a senior IPS officer of the rank of inspector general took a bribe of Rs 45 lakh to release Gopi Ghanshyampura, a Khalistani terrorist and the key accused in last year’s high-security Nabha jailbreak.
According to sources, immediately after Punjab police submitted audio recording as “proof” of the alleged deal made by the official who heads one of the special agencies in UP, chief minister Yogi Adityanath called DGP Sulkhan Singh and principal home secretary Arvind Kumar and ordered a high-level probe.
“A probe by an officer of the rank of additional director general (ADG) will be initiated following UP home secretary taking cognizance of the incident,” DGP Singh said.
Punjab police had earlier claimed that Gopi was last seen in Shahjahanpur on September 10 but then mysteriously disappeared. Vijay Pratap Singh, IG with Punjab anti-terrorist squad (ATS), had told TOI earlier, “We are trying to trace one of the key conspirators of the jailbreak, Gopi, who was last seen on September 10 in Shahjahanpur but managed to flee.”
Notably, in joint operations that last all of last week, Punjab police and UP anti-terrorist squad have arrested six suspects who had non-bailable warrants issued against them for their role in the November 27 jailbreak.
Punjab police now claims that Gopi was let off after the IG-rank officer struck a deal for his release, which was facilitated by one Sandeep Tiwari alias Pintoo, a native of Sultanpur who had contested assembly elections in 2012 on a Congress ticket. During the negotiations, the officer is said to have demanded Rs 1 crore but the deal was finally sealed at Rs 45 lakh and Gopi Ghanshyampura was a free man.
The matter came to light after Punjab police arrested three alleged collaborators — Pintoo, Amandeep Singh and Harjinder Singh Kahlon, the latter two Pilibhit residents — and interrogated them. The transcript of an intercept along with an audio recording of the interrogation was submitted by the Punjab police to UP government officials, following which CM Yogi Adityanath called the UP DGP for a meeting and ordered the probe.
Soon after the jailbreak last year, west UP had come under the radar of Punjab police and was dubbed a safe haven for suspects linked to the banned outfit Babbar Khalsa International. Hours after the jailbreak, main conspirator Parvinder Singh was arrested from Shamli in Uttar Pradesh.
At least 10 armed men had broken into the premises of the high-security Nabha jail and freed six men, including Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist Harminder Mintoo, on November 27.
The incident had, just ahead of state assembly polls, triggered an ugly war of words among Shiromani Akali Dal, Congress and Aam Aadmi Party over patronage to gangsters and the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
Mintoo was, however, arrested the next day from New Delhi railway station.Mastermind Gurpreet Sekhon, who was planning to shift to Hong Kong, was arrested by police from Moga on February 5.