Gangster Deepak Tinu, one of the accused in singer Sidhu Moosewala's murder, escaped from police custody in Mansa district, in a major embarrassment for Punjab Police which sacked the officer incharge and arrested him.
Tinu escaped from the custody of the Crime Investigation Agency unit of the Mansa Police on Saturday night when he was brought on a production warrant from Goindwal Sahib jail in Tarn Taran district in another case.
The Incharge CIA has been dismissed from service under Article 311 of the constitution, the Punjab police said.
An FIR under IPC sections 222 (Intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend person under sentence or lawfully committed), 224 (Resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension) 225 A (Omission to apprehend, or sufferance of escape, on part of public servant...) and 120-B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) has been registered against errant police officials.
Punjab director general of police Gaurav Yadav said the CIA in-charge has been arrested while asserting that no laxity will be tolerated.
He said police teams have fanned out to nab Tinu.
Earlier in 2017, Tinu, who faces several cases including murder and extortion in various states, had escaped with the help of another gangster and his aide from Haryana after throwing pepper spray in the eyes of a police official. Later in December that year, he was arrested by the Bhiwani police from Bengaluru.
"FIR regd. against errant police official on the escape of Deepak Tinu from custody in Mansa Incharge CIA apprehended... No laxity will be tolerated. Police teams have fanned out & operation for re-arresting accused launched," DGP Yadav in a tweet.
The incident prompted the opposition parties to attack the AAP government in Punjab.
"Gangster Deepak Tinu, a key suspect who was hauled in for interrogation in the case of Sidhu Moosewala, managed to escape from Mansa Police's custody in a cinematic manner while the CM of Punjab is busy performing 'Garba' in Gujarat," Leader of Opposition and Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa said in a tweet.
Charan Kaur, the mother of Sidhu Moosewala, questioned how Deepak Tinu escaped from police custody and also alleged that the arrested gangsters were getting 'facilities' in jails.
"Yesterday night, one escaped from the custody of CIA staff. How did he escape," she asked in Mansa.
Tinu is a close aide of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, also an accused in the murder case of the Punjabi singer.
Earlier in the day when asked about the incident, Patiala Range Inspector General Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, who is currently holding additional charge as Bathinda Range IG, told PTI over phone, "Police parties are on the job and we will catch him soon."
Sources said that after the escape of the gangster, police of neighbouring states including Rajasthan and Haryana had been alerted.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Punjab's Mansa district on May 29.
He was killed when he was on his way to Jawahar Ke village in Mansa in a jeep with his friend and cousin. His vehicle was waylaid and bullets were sprayed on him by six shooters.
After the killing, Goldy Brar, a member of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, claimed responsibility for the murder.
Tinu is among 24 accused who have been charge-sheeted in the murder case.
He is a close aide of gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi and Jaggu Bhagwanpuria and had remained lodged with them in different jails.
Tinu was allegedly involved in the planning of Moosewala's murder.
Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa hit out at police for its "negligence".
"This is the height of Punjab Police and Administration's carelessness and negligence. Such errors and security breaches are inexcusable. If they are incapable of handling hardcore detained criminals then God save the common man," said Bajwa.
Akali leader and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said in her tweet, "While Pb CM @BhagwantMann is busy dancing Garba in Gujarat, Sidhu Moosewala killer Deepak Tinu escapes from police custody after being allowed use of phones & taken out without handcuffs in a private car late at night. No wonder there is Gangster Raj under @AAPPunjab."
Congress MLA from Jalandhar Cantt Pargat Singh said, "This reflects poorly on @PunjabPoliceInd and AAP Govt. Meanwhile an unconcerned CM @BhagwantMann is busy playing Garba in Gujarat."
Punjab Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Subhash Sharma, in a tweet in Hindi, said, "Deepak Tinu, accused in the Sidhu Moosewala murder case and associate of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, escaping from the custody of CIA staff in Mansa is extremely worrying. Chief Minister and Home Minister are busy in political tours (for Gujarat elections), Punjab is suffering."
Notably, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was on Sunday touring poll-bound Gujarat.