Harminder Singh Mintoo, one of the prisoners freed by the group of armed men who broke into Nabha Jail in Punjab on Sunday, is the chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) — an organization that is banned in India. He was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday from the Delhi-Haryana highway.
Mintoo was also arrested in 2014 from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport upon his arrival from Thailand. He has been accused in 12 terror-related cases, including attacking the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and the recovery of explosives at Halwara Air Force Station near Ludhiana in 2010. He was also accused for plotting to assasinate three leaders of the Shiv Sena in Punjab.
Mintoo received bail in two of the cases he was involved in, while the police asked the court to discharge him in a third case. He was produced in the Jalandhar Court in 2014 following his arrest in connection with the attack on Singh. The police had said that he received training for about six to seven months at a camp organised by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency in Thailand.
Mintoo, aged 49, hails from Jalandhar district's Dalli village and his family runs a business in Goa, the Indian Express reported. The villagers said that he had last visited Dalli in 2004. He ran away to Thailand after being accused in a case of seizure of 24.5 kg explosive material and 25 detonators in Ludhiana in 2008. He remained on the run until his arrest in 2014.
"Mintoo's family had shifted from the village over two decades back and some of his family members are settled in Goa and have no link with anyone back home," a distant relative told the IE.
Mintoo, who has been sent to a seven-day police remand in the Nabha jailbreak incident, was also part of the Wadhawa Singh-led Babbar Khalsa International before he started to lead KLF in 2009.
He travelled to Europe in 2010 and 2013 with ISI's help and developed contacts in Italy, Belgium, Germany, France and other countries, India Today reported. he has a good network in South Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
Mintoo made Thailand his operational base and reportedly visited Pakistan on a regular basis before being arrested from IGI Airport in 2014.