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Thursday, January 27, 2022

‘Role of Khalistani elements’ in Ludhiana court blast being probed: Punjab DGP

The DGP said the police had leads about persons he was linked with and preliminary investigations revealed that such “links were in jails in Punjab, Khalistani elements abroad, terror outfits, mafia outfits as well as narcotic smugglers”.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: December 26, 2021 7:34:44 am
Blast site at the Court complex in Ludhiana on Thursday. (Express photo: Gurmeet Singh)

Punjab Director General of Police Siddharth Chattopadhyaya on Saturday said that there were indications that the Ludhiana court blast was linked to Khalistani and narco-terror elements operating from Pakistan.

Addressing a press conference, Chattopadhyaya said the main accused, the dismissed head constable Gagandeep Singh from Khanna Police who was facing trial in a drugs case and who got killed in the blast, got in touch with such elements “most probably while he was in jail in Punjab” where he “transitioned from just narcotics to mafia and terror”.

The DGP said the police had leads about persons he was linked with and preliminary investigations revealed that such “links were in jails in Punjab, Khalistani elements abroad, terror outfits, mafia outfits as well as narcotic smugglers”.

The DGP said “this is very dangerous cocktail of narco-organised crime and terrorism.”

“As per leads with us, we strongly suspect that the person [behind Ludhiana blast] is operating from Pakistan only,” the DGP added.

He said the blast was aimed at creating a sense of insecurity in the run up to elections and instilling a sense of fear in the courts. Chattopadhyaya appealed to the people to inform the police about any suspicious activity. The DGP said “police visibility” would be increased and security beefed up at crowded places in the state by pruning security cover of private individuals and deploying them in the field.

“The main challenge which lies ahead of us is the Punjab elections. We will make every effort to get the polls conducted in a peaceful manner without any sense of fear,” Chattoapdhyaya said.

Talking about the type of explosive used in the blast, Chattopadhyaya said, “The material has been sent for forensic examination. We would be able to tell (about the type of explosive used) when the report comes. We don’t think it is RDX as I had some talk with the experts. But, right now I cannot say anything conclusively on that.”

Asked about the probable motive of the attack, the DGP said it could have been aimed at a person, or at a particular place as the next date of hearing in the drug case against Gagandeep was on December 24, a day after the blast. “He may have done this to get the hearing deferred, or to create a sense of fear amongst judges… Such things happened during the terrorism era. A judge was attacked in Moga, in Jagraon also and at many places where they (judges) were… martyred while sitting on chair and delivering justice,” Chattopadhyaya said.

He added that Gagandeep was “very sound in computers and other technical material. It appears that he went to join some wire in the washroom. It does not look like human bomb concept. His posture and initial police investigations suggest that he was using the washroom to assemble explosives.”

The DGP said while Gagandeep was alone in the washroom at the time of blast, police were analyzing CCTV footage to check for the presence of other suspects.

“What is important is that we managed to trace the main accused within 24 hours,” the DGP said, adding that Gagandeep was arrested by the STF for carrying narcotic drugs (385 gm heroin), and a case was registered against him on August 11, 2019 at the STF Police station Mohali under the NDPS Act and after spending two years in jail he came out on bail in September this year. He was posted as munshi at Khanna Sadar police station at the time of his arrest.

Speaking on the Kapurthala incident where a man was lynched for alleged attempt of sacrilege, the DGP said investigations revealed that there was no attempt of sacrilege. He added that Kapurthala gurdwara granthi has been arrested by the police in the lynching case.

He said the accused in the Golden Temple sacrilege incident who was also lynched to death was yet to be identified.

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