Pro-Khalistan supporter and radical preacher Amritpal Singh, who is on the run following a massive crackdown on his outfit ‘Waris Punjab De’, has allegedly been maintaining close links with drug peddlers and Pakistan’s ISI to further his goal for a separate country for the Sikhs, officials said.
While drug lords were allegedly helping the pro-Khalistan preacher financially, including gifting him a high-end Mercedes SUV, the ISI was helping him with arms, ammunition and other logistics, they said.
At the time when police was chasing Singh, he was travelling in a Mercedes SUV, allegedly gifted by Ravel Singh, who is accused of peddling drugs, they said. This is the same SUV from whose sunroof he used to wave people and his supporters.
On Saturday, when police was trying to apprehend the radical preacher, he had abandoned the SUV to evade the police and rode a bike and fled the scene. The SUV has since been seized by the Punjab Police.
Singh tried to project himself as a social reformer and was running de-addiction centres with the objective of setting up a private militia with those who come to his fold, they said.
A private militia was built by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in early 1980s, during the peak of Punjab terrorism.
The de-addiction centres were allegedly also used to stockpile illegal weapons, they said.
Singh and his trusted lieutenants tried to inculcate a radical, violent way of thinking among those at the de-addiction centres, which had no doctors but low quality, cheaper antidotes of drugs, making the victims continue to depend on narcotics, they said.
At those centres, if the inmates do not follow his diktats, they were beaten into submission, they said.
Singh has been successful in getting people to do what he wanted under the guise of religion and this helped ISI carry out its design in Punjab, they said.
He also has links with chief of International Sikh Youth Federation Lakhbir Singh Rode, who is wanted for trial in India and in cases of arms and explosive smuggling, including RDX, conspiracy to attack government leaders in New Delhi and spreading hatred in Punjab.