Timeline of Nabha Jailbreak and Profile of Escaped Criminals and Terrorists
Harminder Singh Mintoo was involved in recruiting youth to KLF and also arranging funds for the organisation.
In a daring jail escape, six prisoners got away from the maximum security prison in Nabha after a hail of cover fire by their associates who had come in four cars to whisk them away.
The Time Line:
How the daring attack and escape unfolded:
8.30 am: As many as 6 criminals arrive outside the maximum security prison in Nabha in two cars. A Fortuner and a Hyundai Verna.
8.35 am: Dressed in police uniforms, five of the men pretend to have brought a prisoner in handcuffs to the jail. Reach outside gate of maximum security prison and guard lets them in thinking they are police personnel bringing a prisoner.
8.35 to 8.40 am: Get access from outside gate to the inner gate of the jail which is roughly 50 metres inside. Once again pretend to have got a prisoner for lodging in the jail. When guard opens gate, they overpower him and start firing indiscriminately.
8.45 am: Get access from inner gate to the pathway that connects the prisoners barracks to the gates. Two terrorists - Mintoo and Kashmir Singh along with four gangsters are waiting. Continue to fire with their shotguns and small arms. Did not have any automatic weapons.
8.50 am: Snatch an SLR rifle from a jail guard and begin exit from jail premises in the two vehicles along with the six prisoners set free. Continue to fire on their way out and after exit turn left from jail on Thuhi Nabha road.
8.55 am: Reach railway crossing that is closed. Try and go across but not being able to do so, turn around and once again pass in front of the Jail firing from weapons.
9.05 am: Escape from jail towards Nabha and then move on towards Samana, a highway that connects to Haryana border.
9.00 to 9.05 am: One jail guard opens fire from a light machine gun. 11 bullets fired. None hits any of the criminals. Eyewitnesses say guards opened fire after escape of criminals.
9.30 am: Information is flashed across the state. Checkposts are set up. Security of CM, Deputy CM , Punjab Governor enhanced.
10.30 am: Punjab Police at Samana near Patiala flag down a car that is unable to stop in time. Edgy Punjab Police open fire and shoots dead an innocent girl.
Murder case now registered against unknown persons by Punjab Police after villagers protest killing.
10.30 am: Police go on high alert in Haryana after Haryana Police sounds an alarm and sets up checkposts to nab fleeing terrorists and criminals.
11.00 am: All criminals reach Kaithal. Harminder Mintoo and Kashmir Singh separate from the four other hardcore criminals as also the others who got them out.
It is believed the entire plan was hatched three months back to get the hardcore criminals out and the two terrorists just happened to tag along.
11.30 am: Harminder Mintoo begins a bus journey that will take him to Kurukshetra. He gets his head hair and beard trimmed. Takes another bus to Panipat and then a third bus to Nizamuddin Railway Station.
11.30 am: Punjab government suspends ADGP Prisons and dismisses from service the jail superintendent and deputy superintendent.
11.30 am: Emergency meeting of Punjab Home Minister Sukhbir Badal and DGP Suresh Arora takes place.
1.30 pm: Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal says SIT will be formed and hints at an ISI connection in plotting the escape.
4.30 pm: Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal reaches Nabha jail accompanied by DGP. Nabha jail is a high security jail spread over a large area and has barracks laid out in a circular radiating manner.
6.00 pm: UP Police nab Palwinder Singh alias Pinda from UP-Haryana border. Palwinder Singh had escaped from Nabha jail earlier this year and had been accused in the murder of an ASI in Jalandhar in 2013.
He was well versed with the jail layout. Palwinder Singh was among the 10 criminals who masterminded the escape from outside the jail. White Fortuner recovered with arms and ammunition in large quantity.
7.30 pm: A Hyundai Verna with fake number plates recovered from Kaithal. Police start search operations in the area. By now two of four cars are recovered.
9 pm to 2 am: Harminder Mintoo reaches Delhi, makes a call to a relative in Subhash Nagar, West Delhi. Call monitored by Punjab Police. Information passed on to Delhi Police special cell. Mintoo goes to Nizamuddin Station to buy a ticket to Panwel and then Goa planning to exit country later.
Identified at Nizamuddin by Special Cell officers and after a brief scuffle taken into custody.
2 am to present: Special cell conducts raids across different locations in Delhi to try and nab Kashmir Singh.
28 Nov 8 am: Third getaway car, a white i20 recovered from Kaithal. This car had been used by four criminals who later took a bus and went in an unknown direction.
28 Nov through the day: Operations continue in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh and UP to try and nab the remaining 14 who continue to be armed and on the run.
The six escapees included two dreaded terrorists and four hardcore criminals wanted in cases of murder, loot and dacoity.
The Two Terrorists:
Harminder Singh ‘Mintoo’
Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief Harminder Singh 'Mintoo' and his key aide Gurpreet Singh alias Gopi were first arrested from the IGI New Delhi airport with central agencies’ assistance in November 2014.
Mintoo was involved in recruiting youth to KLF and also arranging funds for the organisation.
He had set up a terror base in Thailand and was involved in 10 cases of militancy at the time of his arrest.
Kashmir Singh was arrested and booked for attempt to murder after he had shot at Punjab Shiv Sena leader Harvinder Soni with a countrymade .315-bore pistol in Gurdaspur. Police claim that Kashmir Singh had links with terrorist sleeper cells and the attack on Soni was communally motivated.
The Four Gangsters
Harjinder Singh Bhullar alias Vicky Gounder
Gounder is the top suspect in the murder of gangster Sukha Kahlwan and was arrested in December 2015. He was moved to Nabha jail after a clash with a rival gang in Ropar jail.
Gounder is suspected of having been involved in another murder case in Jalandhar Commissionerate in 2010. His gang— gangster Gurshahid Singh alias Shera Khubban’s group is primarily involved in highway robberies and murders.
Gurpreet Singh Sekhon alias Sonu Mudki
Gupreet is suspected of having been an accomplice in a murder during the 2012 assembly elections. Sekhon faces 13 criminal cases in Ferozepur, Faridkot, Moga, Bathinda and Chandigarh.
Kulpreet Singh alias Neeta Deol
Neeta is the prime suspect in the murder of Sukha Kahlwan and was arrested from Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji International Airport, Amritsar in 2015. He is involved in six criminal cases.
He heads the Dhotian gang in Amritsar region and was arrested in November 2015. He is involved in vehicle theft cases.