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Centre accepts Punjab's recommendation to hand over Tarn Taran blast case to NIA

ANI  |  General News 

The Central government on Friday accepted Punjab government's recommendation to hand over the Tarn Taran district blast case to the Investigation Agency (NIA), in view of its and international ramifications and suspected links of the accused with the Pak-backed Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

A communique to this effect has been received by the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police (DGP), Punjab, according to the spokesperson.

Two persons were killed and one other was injured in the blast, which took place in Tan Taran on September 5, when the victims were reportedly digging a pit to retrieve a dumped explosive consignment, which they mishandled.

The Punjab Police had arrested eight members of the Pakistan-backed module, whose interrogations led to a complex web of conspiracy and attacks by the group, including an aborted attack on a high-value target in 2016.

Seven others, including the module leader and main conspirator Bikramjit Singh alias Granthi, who is believed to be in Austria, are still absconding.

Giving further details of the module unravelled so far, a Punjab Police spokesperson said: "Bikramjit used to source material for his explosives from near Haqima gate and Lohgarh area of old city Amritsar. He had successfully radicalized most of the module members at a religious place during the Ghallughara week, which was observed in the first week of June 2016 and thereafter. He had also imparted training in IED manufacturing to radicalized module members at his home at village Panjwar and in the house of Gurjant Singh at village Bachere (Tarn Taran)."

"After radicalizing, motivating, imparting training in making IEDs, sourcing low-grade explosives and supplying IEDs to important module members & other UNK individuals, he escaped to Austria via Armenia in July 2018," the spokesperson added.

The other absconders have been identified as Gurpreet Singh (now based in California, USA), Gurwinder Singh alias Prince (now based at Sanjose, California, USA), Sodhi Singh (presently residing in Armenia), Arwinder Singh alias Honey, Kuldeep Singh and Ranjit Singh alias Bablu, who escaped to USA the day after the attack on a liquor shop in Amritsar on May 3, 2016.

Those apprehended so far have been identified as Harjit Singh, Manpreet Singh Mann, Chandeep Singh Khalsa, Malkiat Singh, Maandeep Singh, Amritpal Singh, Amarjit Singh and Gurjant Singh.

Investigations have revealed strong links of the module members with Pakistan and SFJ, according to a police spokesperson. Chandeep Singh was in regular touch with Pak-based Usman who had earlier contacted Chandeep on Facebook in 2018. Usman used to send him Whatsapp messages related to Khalistan and abrogation of Article 370. Usman used to motivate Chandeep to work for the establishment of a separate state of Khalistan and unite with Kashmiri Jehadis. Several Pakistani numbers have also been found in Chandeep's contact list.

The module had planned to a target a Dera in Taran Taran district, on order from Sodhi Singh Khalsa of Armenia, who was also the module's one of the main links to the SFJ.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, September 20 2019. 22:57 IST
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