Punjab Police chief Gaurav Yadav Tuesday constituted a four-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the escape of gangster Deepak Tinu from the custody of Mansa police “and to ensure effective and speedy investigation into this case”.
Soon, a controversy erupted over the inclusion of Senior Superintendent of Police, Mansa, Gaurav Toora as a member of the SIT, which will be headed by Inspector General of Police (IG) Patiala range M S Chhina. Additional IG Anti-Gangster Task Force (AGTF) Opinderjit Singh, and DSP, AGTF, Bikramjeet Singh Brar are the other two members.
“Station House Officer (SHO), Mansa police station City-1 shall offer complete assistance to the SIT. The SIT can co-opt any officer from Bathinda and Patiala ranges and AGTF for assistance,” rerad the order.
Tinu, a close associate of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi and booked in at least 58 cases including the murder of singer Sidhu Moosewala, escaped from the custody of Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) unit of the Mansa police in the intervening night of October 1 and 2. Tinu escaped when Mansa CIA sub-inspector in-charge Pritpal Singh allegedly took him out in his private vehicle without any handcuffs or security, as per the FIR lodged by the polioce. The sub-inspector was dismissed from service on charges of dereliction of duty and arrested.
On Tuesday, Mansa police said that three weapons, including a revolver and two pistols, have been recovered from Pritpal Singh’s official residence during checking in presence of DSP city and executive magistrate.
Under fire from the Opposition over the brazen escape, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had in Vidhan Sabha announced that a look-out notice has been issued against Tinu and he will be nabbed soon.
DGP Yadav, meanwhile said that investigation in the case is on at full pace with several police teams searching for the gangster. He said that the SIT will conduct a day-to-day investigation into the case and will arrest anyone who is found involved in the escape.
Tinu had been chargesheeted in the Moosewala murder case. On September 27, he was brought on production warrant from jail by Mansa police for questioning in another murder case of 2019.
Meanwhile, reacting sharply to the inclusion of SSP Toora in the SIT, former deputy Speaker of Vidhan Sabha Bir Devinder Singh said the senior police officer “must be placed under suspension forthwith for the scandalous escape of A-category gangster”.
“Besides him, SP (Detective) and DSP (Detective) Mansa should also be suspended, not only for the complete collapse of their supervisory control of the CIA, but also lack of professionalism in the discharge of their duties,” Bir Devinder said.
“It’s apparent from the escape of Tinu that there seems to be no cohesion in the working of the police in the district and the complete breakdown of command and control system is palpable everywhere. Tinu’s escape has completely shaken the public faith in the working of the state police,” said Bir Devinder.
He further said, “It appears that there was absolutely no supervisory control of the senior officers on the working of the CIA, Mansa. If an A-category gangster was being ferried so generously to various places for the fulfilment of his desires, as is being reported in the media, without the knowledge of the senior officers including the SSP, then where were SP (Detective) and DSP (Detective)? Were they in deep slumber or in opprobrious collusion with Pritpal Singh in facilitating the escape of the gangster?”
Toora, when contacted over phone, said, “No comment.”
The veteran leader, meanwhile, said that CM Mann, who is handling the Home portfolio, and DGP Yadav need to answer the questions bothering the public mind.