Pak-backed terror module busted in Punjab, 4 arrested with AK-47s

Chandigarh, September 22: In another major terror crackdown, the Punjab Police has busted a terrorist module of the revived Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), backed by a Pakistan and Germany based terror group that was conspiring to unleash a series of terrorist strikes in Punjab and/or adjoining states, and seized a huge cache of arms, including 5 AK-47 rifles, pistols, satellite phones and hand grenades.

Given the international links and the ramifications of the conspiracy, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has decided to hand over further investigations in the case to NIA to ensure that the entire conspiracy is fully and expeditiously unraveled.

The 4 members of the terrorist module were arrested from the outskirts of village Chohla Sahib, PS Chola Sahib, District Tarn Taran on Sunday.

They were using white colored Maruti Swift car no. PB 65 X 8042.

 With initial investigations revealing the use of drones to deliver terrorists weapons and communication hardware across the border, the Chief Minister has also urged the central government to direct the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Border Security Force (BSF) to launch necessary counter-measures to check any further threat from drones to the border state of Punjab.

According to DGP Dinkar Gupta, the weapons were suspected to have been delivered recently across the Indo-Pak border from Pakistan over drones launched by the Pak establishment, the Pak ISI, and the State-sponsored Jihadi and pro-Khalistani terrorist outfits working under its command. Gupta said the large-scale infiltration appeared to have been aimed at scaling terrorism and militancy in J&K, Punjab and the Indian hinterland, in the wake of the recent developments in the Valley.

Gupta disclosed that the operation was based on different inputs gathered from sources that activists of the banned KZF planned to carry out multiple terrorist strikes in J&K, Punjab and other States.

In an operation carried out by Ketan Baliram Patil, AIG/Counter Intelligence, Amritsar along with along with various Punjab Police teams based in Chandigarh, four module members have been arrested and a large quantity of arms, ammunition, explosives and communication devices, has been seized by the Counter Intelligence Wing of Punjab Police.

Disclosing this here on Sunday, DGP Dinkar Gupta said the module was backed by Pakistan-based chief of KZF, Ranjeet Singh @ Neeta, and his Germany-based associate Gurmeet Singh @ Bagga @ Doctor, who had re-organized their terrorist group to revive terrorism in Punjab. With the help of local sleeper cells, they had spotted, radicalized and recruited local members, besides arranging funds and sophisticated weapons from across the border for operationalizing the local module members.

Those arrested have been identified as Balwant Singh @ Baba @Nihang, Akashdeep Singh @ Akash Randhawa, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh. Both Akashdeep and Baba Balwant Singh have multiple criminal cases against them.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Maan Singh, currently lodged in Amritsar Jail under Arms Act and UAPA case, at the behest of his handler Gurmeet Singh @ Bagga, had recruited Akashdeep Singh, when they were lodged together in Amritsar jail. Recipient of the consignment, Baba Balwant Singh is a member of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist organization, and was earlier arrested in a UAPA and Arms Act case in  PS Mukandpur (SBS Nagar), and is presently on bail and facing trial in that case.

FIR no. 0013 dated 22.9.2019 has been registered at PS State Special Operation Cell (SSOC) Amritsar under UAPA, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act, Prisons Act, and various relevant sections of the IPC.

Altogether 5 AK-47 Rifles (along with 16 magazines and 472 rounds of ammunition), 4 Chinese made .30 bore Pistols (along with 8 magazines and 72 rounds of ammunition), 9 Hand Grenades, 5 Thuraya satellite phones along with their ancillary equipment, 2 mobile phones, 2 wireless sets and Rs 10 lac Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) have been recovered from them. 

Further investigations are on to unravel the entire terrorist module.