Updated: May 6, 2022 1:45:41 am
In a joint operation, the Haryana and Punjab police Thursday foiled a major terror plot, by arresting four suspected terrorists who were on their way to Telangana to deliver a consignment of explosives that was allegedly dropped in a Ferozepur field via drones from Pakistan. Police recovered arms, ammunition and IEDs from the vehicle they were travelling in.
The accused — all residents of Punjab — were working on the direction of Pakistan-based terrorist Harvinder Singh Rinda who had sent the consignment and also used to send locations through an app to them to deliver the explosives and weapons.
They were nabbed near Bastara toll plaza on Ambala-Delhi national highway, Karnal Range Inspector General of Police, Satender Kumar Gupta, said. They were travelling in a Toyota Innova bearing a Delhi registration number. Police recovered three IEDs weighing 2.5 Kg each, one country-made pistol, 31 live cartridges, Rs 1.3 lakh cash and six mobile phones from the vehicle.
After the vehicle was intercepted in Karnal, a bomb disposal squad and forensic experts reached the spot. A case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act has been registered. The Haryana Police has constituted a special investigation team to conduct further probe in the matter.
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Superintendent of Police, Karnal, Ganga Ram Punia told reporters that the four — Bhupinder Singh from village Bhatian in Ludhiana and Gurpreet Singh, Parminder Singh and Amandeep Singh from Vinijoke village in Zira, Ferozepur — were headed to Adilabad in Telangana to deliver a consignment of explosives.
“They were in touch with Rinda who is involved in terror activities and used to send locations through an app to them to deliver explosives and weapons. Rinda used to drop weapons and explosives at a pre-designated location in the fields in Ferozepur with the help of drones. We are ascertaining the terrorist outfit with which they were associated with,” Punia said.
Punia said Gurpreet Singh, the key accused, had met Rajbir Singh, an associate of Rinda, in jail. In the FIR registered on Thursday, Rinda and Rajbir have also been named as accused.
When Gurpreet was in Ludhiana jail, he came in contact with Rajbir. And Rajbir connected him to Rinda. Earlier too, the suspects had delivered explosives at Rinda’s behest to various locations told by him, according to the FIR.
The four suspects, two of whom are stated to be brothers, were produced before a court in Karnal and remanded in 10-day police custody.
Explaining their modus operandi, Punia said the accused have claimed drones from Pakistan used to drop consignment of arms and ammunition in fields owned by Gurpreet’s friend Akashdeep’s paternal grandparents. “Rinda used to send location to them and their task was to transport these explosives and arms for which they were paid. We are ascertaining the mode of payment and how much they have been already been paid. They were in touch with Rinda for the past nine months. The accused had earlier made delivery of two such consignments including one near Nanded, a few months ago,” Punia said.
Haryana DGP, PK Agrawal, said the accused claims that drones dropped the weapons and explosives in the fields of Ferozepur need to be verified.
The Punjab Police, in a statement later, said in a well-coordinated operation, they successfully averted a possible terrorist attack by giving a hot chase of over 300 km to the suspects and passing on inputs to their Haryana counterparts about their movement.
Giving details of the incident, Punjab DGP V K Bhawra said that central agencies earlier shared an input that some suspects, who may be carrying explosive material and weapons, are moving in the border districts of Fazilka and Ferozepur.
Subsequent to this input, police teams along with officials from central agencies had launched manhunt, Bhawra said, adding the suspects were found to be moving in Ferozepur and later they started moving towards Ludhiana.
“The suspects further took the National Highway and started moving towards Ambala, when Haryana Police managed to intercept the vehicle in Karnal and arrest the accused persons with the IEDs,” Bhawra said.
“The accused have revealed that they were working for Rinda. A notorious gangster-turned terrorist, Rinda was active in Punjab, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Haryana, is a history-sheeter and wanted by the Punjab Police in heinous crimes including murder, contract killing, robbery, extortion and snatching,” Bhawra said.
Haryana’s ADGP Sandeep Khirwar said the possibility of more people being involved in the case cannot be ruled out.
Asked if the suspects are related to terror outfit Babbar Khalsa, Khirwar said, “Once facts in this regard come to fore, we will let you know.”
Talking to the media persons in Rohtak on the sidelines of an event, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that the investigation in the case was underway.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said, “Four terrorists were going in the Innova vehicle. We arrested them on the basis of inputs and arms and ammunition have been recovered. Further probe is on.”
The accused were also likely to be questioned by central security agencies including the NIA and Intelligence Bureau.
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