'You have 80,000 cops...How has everyone been arrested, except Amritpal': HC raps Punjab govt
Advocate General Vinod Ghai replied to the bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court saying: "It happens sometimes. The G20 summit was also going on."
Published: 21st March 2023 03:49 PM | Last Updated: 21st March 2023 06:14 PM | A+A A-
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the state government that "how is everyone arrested, except Amritpal Singh", adding that "if he has escaped, this is an intelligence failure".
The court was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by advocate Imaan Singh Khara, seeking the "release" of radical preacher Amritpal Singh from alleged police custody. Khara is the legal advisor of Amritpal Singh and his outfit 'Waris Punjab De.
Justice N S Shekhawat asked Punjab Advocate General (AG) Vinod Ghai how Amritpal Singh gave police the slip when the whole operation was meticulously planned, and called it an intelligence failure.
Justice NS Shekhawat asked AG Vinod Ghai: "How did he (Amritpal Singh) escape?" At this, AG Vinod Ghai replied: "We have arrested other accused in the case."
The bench further asked how everyone, except Amritpal Singh, has been arrested. "You have 80,000 police. How has he not been arrested? If he escaped, this is an intelligence failure. The entire police force is after him," said the bench.
Police on Saturday had launched a major crackdown against Amritpal Singh and members of his outfit 'Waris Punjab De'. The elusive preacher himself, however, gave the police a slip and escaped their dragnet when his cavalcade was intercepted in Jalandhar district.
Armed with weapons, the entire state machinery swung into action yet Amritpal Singh managed to escape while all his associates were arrested, Justice Shekhawat observed and said it was hard for him to believe this.
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AG Vinod Ghai said the state police was fully armed but exercised restraint due to security issues as the operation occurred at a public place. Some matters are so sensitive that they cannot be explained in open court, he said, adding that the Punjab Police was doing its best to arrest Amritpal Singh.
Explaining further, the AG said: "It happens sometimes. The G20 summit was also going on."
The AG also informed the court that the stringent National Security Act (NSA) has been invoked against Amritpal Singh.
Meanwhile, Amritpal Singh's father Tarsem Singh also reached the court but Justice Shekhawat stated that he cannot be heard as he is not a party in the case.
The High Court appointed advocate Tanu Bedi as amicus curiae in the case and adjourned the hearing for four days. It has also sought a status report sought from the Punjab government.
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(With IANS, PTI inputs)