NIA files chargesheet against 3 terrorists linked with banned Khalistani outfits

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it is also investigating the links of 16 other abscondings and arrested accused associated with the BKI and KTF.

The NIA has filed a chargesheet against three “individual terrorists” associated with banned Khalistani outfits BKI and KTF, exposing their international nodes involved in the recruitment and handling of India-based terror operatives, an official said on Sunday.

Six other associates working for the Babbar Khalsa International and Khalistan Tiger Force were also named in the chargesheet filed before a special court on Sunday, also highlighting a complex mechanism of fundraising for the two outfits, a spokesperson of the agency said.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it is also investigating the links of 16 other abscondings and arrested accused associated with the BKI and KTF.

The spokesperson said the three notorious gangsters-turned-terrorists and drug-smugglers — Harwinder Singh Sandhu alias ‘Rinda’, Lakhbir Singh Sandhu alias ‘Landa’ of BKI and Arshdeep Singh alias ‘Arsh Dala’ of KTF — are based outside the country and have created their own networks of operatives there to carry out terror activities in India.

“Through this complex network of operatives based abroad, they have been recruiting, motivating and handling their associates in India to carry out terrorist activities, extortion and cross-border smuggling of weapons and drugs into India.

“They also have linkages with major gangs operating in north India, including local gangsters, organized criminal syndicates and networks,” the spokesperson said.

According to the NIA, Rinda is a very important BKI member and Khalistani operative. “In the year 2018-19, he fled to Pakistan illegally and is currently living there under the patronage of ISI, and is involved in the commission of terrorist activities against India.

“Rinda is involved in various offences like smuggling of arms, ammunition explosives and drugs into Indian territory from Pakistan, recruitment of BKI operatives, murders, raising funds for BKI through extortion in the states of Punjab and Maharashtra,” the spokesperson said.

The official said Rinda has been involved in many terrorist activities, including the RPG attack on the Punjab Police Intelligence headquarters in May 2022, and was declared an “individual terrorist” along with Dala and Landa by the centre, the agency said.

Moga resident Dala is an infamous gangster who left for Canada sometime back and came in contact with Hardeep Singh Nijjar who was the chief of proscribed terrorist organization KTF, according to the spokesperson.

The duo engaged in the recruitment of youth and formation of terrorist gangs for carrying out extortion for raising funds for KTF and for carrying out the targeted killing of businessmen and leaders of particular communities in Punjab, the spokesperson said.

The official said Landa of Tarn Taran was initially involved in criminal and gangster activities and left for Canada in 2017 where he came in contact with Rinda.

Landa started working for the BKI and emerged as the main accused in a number of terrorist incidents, including the RPG attack on Punjab Police Intelligence headquarters and the RPG attack on Sarhali Police station in Tarn Taran in December 2022.

He was also the mastermind of the conspiracy to kill Punjab Police Sub Inspector Dilbagh Singh in August last year, the spokesperson said.

The agency said other foreign-based charge-sheeted operatives of BKI include Harjot Singh who is currently in the USA, Kashmir Singh Galwaddi, who is absconding in the Nabha Jailbreak case and suspected to be presently in Nepal, and Landa’s brother Tarsem Singh, currently in Dubai.

Gurjant Singh, who is hiding in Australia, is amongst the foreign-based nodes of KTF who have been charge-sheeted, the spokesperson said, adding other accused charge-sheeted are Deepak Ranga and Lucky Khokhar alias ‘Denis’, who were recruited by foreign-based handlers for carrying out terror activities in India.

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