Another accused in murderous attack on Shiv Sena leader Harvinder Soni was arrested on Sunday by Patiala police following a state wide alert after the incident.
Border Range Inspector General Ishwar Chander Sharma identified the other accused as Inderpal Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur.
Sharma said Inderpal had helped prime accused Kashmir Singh in identifying Soni and doing recce to track Soni’s movements. Inderpal, police said, had a tent house in Gurdaspur and also ran a mobile phone business.
Sharma said that Inderpal was trying to leave the state but was nabbed by Patiala police. Gurdaspur Senior Superintendent of Police Gurpreet Singh Toor added that Inderpal helped Kashmir for the recce but was not present today when Kashmir opened fire on Soni. Toor said Patiala police was in process of handing over the accused to Gurdaspur police.
IG Sharma, meanwhile, said that preliminary interrogation of Kashmir Singh revealed that he did not have any links with any terrorist outfit. IG said that Kashmir had a “criminal background” and three “criminal cases” were registered against him, two in Fatehgarh Sahib district and one in Khanna in the past. IG said the cases against Kashmir related to “preparation of committing dacoity, unlawful activities and theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint in order to the committing of the theft”.
IG said Kashmir came to Gurdaspur on April 9 and carried out recce of Soni with the help of Inderpal.
IG said after coming to Gurdaspur district from his village, Kashmir stayed at gurdwaras and religious places in areas like Dhariwal and Baba Bakala.
IG told that the country made pistol used in the crime was bought by Kashmir from Muradabad in Uttar Pradesh recently for Rs. 11 thousand. “Though further investigations are on in the case, but had he been linked with any terrorist outfit he would not have gone to UP to buy the country made weapon for Rs 11,000,” IG said.
Meanwhile, Punjab Director General of Police Sumedh Singh Saini was scheduled to visit Soni at Fortis hospital in Amritsar. IG said DGP Saini was coming to personally monitor the case. IG said police showed “exemplary courage and nabbed the assailant within minutes of the crime”.
Soni has high security cover including escort vehicle.
Soni, who after the March 2012 episode, was locked in a tussle with radical Sikhs, was provided a high security after what police say was “threat perception” to him. As many as seven gunmen have been provided to Soni along with an escort vehicle. Sources, however, said that only two gunmen were with Soni when he came under the attack on Sunday morning.
“Soni was given one of the highest security cover which included seven gunmen and an escort vehicle. As a standard procedure, we take a call on the security cover of the person on the basis of threat perception,” said Punjab ADGP (Security) Dinkar Gupta.
Besides Soni, Border Range IG Ishwar Chander Sharma said, two other Shiv Sena leaders Surinder Billa from Amritsar and Yograj Sharma were also given security covers following inputs about threat to their lives.