Chandigarh:The Punjab government on Tuesday informed the high court that the stringent National Security Act has been invoked against Amritpal Singh, the fugitive preacher. The government revealed the matter when the High Court rapped it over the intelligence failure that led to the pro-Khalistan preacher's escape from police.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by advocate Imaan Singh Khara, seeking the release of Amritpal Singh from alleged police custody.
Justice N S Shekhawat asked Punjab Advocate General Vinod Ghai how Amritpal Singh gave police the slip when the whole operation was meticulously planned, and called it an intelligence failure, a lawyer said.
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.
In his petition, Khara sought the production of Amritpal Singh from alleged police custody. Khara is the legal advisor of Amritpal Singh and his outfit 'Waris Punjab De.'
The Punjab Police say the Khalistan sympathiser is still on the run after escaping their dragnet.
Speaking to reporters after the court hearing, Khara said the Punjab advocate general filed its record pertaining to Amritpal Singh in the high court.
Khara said Ghai told the court that five to six FIRs have been registered in the matter. The petitioner further said that the AG told the court that NSA has been invoked against Amritpal Singh.
The step was taken after the senior superintendent of police Amritsar recommended it to the district magistrate. However, according to the reply filed by the state, Amritpal Singh has not been detained by police, said Khara.
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.
Replying to the court queries, the Punjab AG 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, Ghai said, adding that the Punjab Police was doing its best to arrest 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 HC appointed advocate Tanu Bedi as amicus curiae to assist the court.