JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday booked Varinder Singh, suspected to be the bodyguard of the fugitive radical preacher Amritpal Singh, under the Arms Act in connection with a gun licence issued to him in Kishtwar district, officials said.
The district administration also cancelled Varinder Singh’s licence and said it will probe how the former army jawan, who was sacked in 2015, procured the licence in 2014 and then kept getting it renewed in different districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Police said Varinder Singh, also known as Fauji, was part of a private security set up for radical preacher Amritpal Singh, who is on the run.
A video recently showed Varinder Singh, the bodyguard of Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh, opening fire in the air.
After the clip appeared, the Punjab Police arrested him last week, slapped the National Security Act on him and lodged in a jail in faraway Assam.
Kishtwar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Khalil Poswal told PTI on Thursday that there was also a need to investigate how Varinder Singh got the licence.
“Accordingly, we have lodged an FIR under number 52/2023 under section 3/25/30 Arms Act and provisions of IPC registered in police station Kishtwar,” he said.
He further said that police has conveyed the details of the case to Punjab Police and sought documents from them. “We will seek the presence of that person. He (Varinder Singh) will be brought here to conduct investigation and to find out how he reached here and how he got license from here.” Giving further details, he said that the gun license was issued to him in 2014 from Kishtwar Deputy Magistrate (DM) office.
He said the CID wing of the Punjab Police recently wrote to the DM Kishtwar that there was misuse of his gun license. “The matter was activated and Deputy Commissioner Kishtwar cancelled gun license,” the SSP said.
Poswal said that police will have to ascertain as to under which circumstances the gun license was issued to him in the first place as his army unit was never posted here in Kishtwar.
“He was a jawan of the 96 regiment and was terminated in 2015. After issuance, his gun licence was getting renewed. The licence has been validated till 2025 from Ramban, Reasi, Baramulla and Kathua. There is a need to investigate the case,” the SSP said.
As for verification by Police before granting gun license to him, he said that there was a letter from the them commandant to DM. “On that certificate, the gun licence was issued. There was certification or verification by Police in Kishtwar in this case,” the SSP said.
Amritpal Singh, meanwhile, remains elusive since the police crackdown against him and members of his pro-Khalistan ‘Waris Punjab De’ outfit began on March 18, about three weeks after he and his supporters stormed into the Ajnala police station near Amritsar to secure the release of an arrested man.
The preacher escaped the police net in Jalandhar district on March 18, switching vehicles and changing appearances.
He and his associates have been booked under several criminal cases related to spreading disharmony among classes, attempt to murder, attack on police personnel and creating obstructions in the lawful discharge of duty by public servants.