Patiala, September 13
Role of certain army officials is under scanner after thePatialapolice grilled army man Manpreet Sharma, who allegedly passed on vital army information to a notorious drug peddler. Police suspect that it was rather “not possible for Manpreet to lay hands on such information without help from a superior”.
Sources say that the tenure of drug trafficker Amrik Singh inside the Central Jail Patiala will also be investigated to ascertain if he had access to a phone. “Since a lot of phones were recovered from the jail in recent times, we want to be sure if he was in touch with his Pakistan-based handlers,” said police sources.
Ten days back the Patialapolice — following specific inputs from the state intelligence —established the active role of notorious drug smuggler Amrik Singh with thePakistanspy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Manpreet was arrested from Madhya Pradesh two days back following information from Amrik's phone which established his role in the leaks.
“Before his arrest in a drugs case, Amrik Singh was using a foreign SIM card. When he was arrested in 2022 in a drugs case, a phone was seized from him. Forensic analysis of the phone established how a 140-page report of an Army camp in Himachal Pradesh was passed to a Pakistani spy. “The entire movement of that Army camp, strength of the personnel, total vehicles and other details were sent to ISI official Sher Khan,” sources told The Tribune.
Patiala SSP Varun Sharma told The Tribune that Amrik is now in police remand and his questioning along with his associate Manpreet Sharma reveals that information was physically handed over to Amrik in a café near Chandimandir army area. “Army intelligence and our officials will recreate the scene as Manpreet, despite being a sepoy, managed to acquire such vital information,” he stated.
“There were many voice notes too that were shared with the ISI number detailing convoy movements and other details of that particular camp,” said police insiders.
Police confirm that the ISI had also sent two AK-47 weapons and around 250 bullets, which show the seriousness of the case.
Amrik, a resident of Dedhna village inPatiala, has been involved in drug smuggling since 2004. He is said to be the brother of proclaimed offender Avtar Singh, involved in the Jagdish Bhola drug case.
Despite being intimated in writing by the Police Department, laxity on part ofPatialajail officials allowed Amrik to escape during treatment at a hospital in October 2022.
Later, as many as 12 jail officials faced action by the government after Amrik managed to escape dodging the Central Jail authorities. He was later arrested in November byPatialacops.
Amrik faces 12 FIRs inPunjab, including two FIRs involving 8 kg heroin each. Considered a vital link between the cross-border heroin network and local drug dealers, Amrik has now been booked under various Sections of the Official Secrets Act, 1923.
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