The man driving Amritpal Singh on a two-wheeler has been identified, police sources said, hours after security footage from various CCTV cameras revealed how the Khalistani leader managed to evade the police and get away. Sources said the bearded and turbaned man driving the Bajaj Platina motorcycle is Pappalpreet Singh, a former journalist from Amritsar and a close aide of Amritpal Singh. They described him as the main force behind the Khalistani leader, who came on the police radar last month after his supporters had an armed clash with the police.
Amritpal Singh has been on the run for three days, going underground on Saturday, when the Punjab Police launched a manhunt for him. On Day One, he changed clothes and vehicles at least twice. From a Mercedes, he switched to a Maruti Brezza and from that, to a two-wheeler.
In footage accessed exclusively by NDTV, the 30-year-old is seen exiting the Maruti Brezza and speeding towards Jalandhar city with four accomplices on two motor bikes. The exchange took place on a narrow, empty road running through lush green fields. Sources said it was a rural area in Jalandhar district. Barring them, no one appeared to be in sight.
While the man now identified as Pappalpreet Singh drove Amritpal Singh, three others were seen taking another bike. This is the footage where he is seen last.
A video clip from Saturday morning showed him at a toll booth in Jalandhar. The car, where he occupied the front seat, was the white Maruti Brezza, in place of the Mercedes SUV he was using initially.
The Mercedes was found abandoned at a village in Jalandhar’s Shahkot. The police recovered a private walkie talkie, rifle, 57 live cartridges, a sword, and scores of registration number plates.
Four men have been arrested for helping the Khalistani leader, who, the police now say, had links with Pakistan intelligence agency ISI. The arrested men, during questioning, revealed that Amritpal Singh went to Nangal Ambian gurdwara, where he changed his clothes for a second time and shortly after, switched to bikes.
The Punjab Police have invoked the stringent National Security Act against Amritpal Singh, claimed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. While hearing it, Justice NS Shekhawat slammed the state police, questioning how one man can escape an 80,000-strong police force.