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Mohali attack: Police uncover nexus between Babbar Khalsa and ISI, 6 held

In a press conference, Director General of Police V K Bhawra said three other people, two of whom were “outsiders”, had carried out Monday’s strike and were yet to be arrested. The third person was a resident of Tarn Taran district, Charhat Singh, said the DGP.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 14, 2022 7:18:39 am
At the Punjab Police office in Mohali. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

The RPG attack on the Punjab Police Intelligence Wing headquarters in Mohali was carried out by the banned pro-Khalistan outfit Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) as well as “gangsters” with the backing of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), police said Friday, adding that six people involved in the case have been arrested.

In a press conference, Director General of Police V K Bhawra said three other people, two of whom were “outsiders”, had carried out Monday’s strike and were yet to be arrested. The third person was a resident of Tarn Taran district, Charhat Singh, said the DGP.

The arrested people had helped the attackers with shelter, logistics and arms.

Five of them are Jagdeep Kang, Kanwar Bath, Baljit Kaur, Anantdeep Singh Sonu and Baljinder Singh “Rambo”. The sixth is Nishan Singh, a resident of Kulla village in Tarn Taran district, who was arrested by the Faridkot Police in a separate case. The DGP said he would be arrested in the Mohali case as well.

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Bhawra identified the key conspirator in the case as one Lakhvir Singh Landa, a gangster from Tarn Taran district who has been in Canada since 2017. Bhawra said Landa was a close associate of one Harwinder Rinda, who was close to BKI chief Wadhawa Singh and the ISI.

“The attack was carried out by an axis of Babbar Khalsa International and gangsters with the backing of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence,” he said.

Asked about the attackers, Bhawra said: “Foot soldiers are being arranged by the gangsters”.

He also described the roles played by the accused people.

Charhat Singh had carried out a recce of the intelligence headquarters along with Kang, a Mohali resident, on the day of the attack.

Kang was the “local contact” of the module. Nishan Singh provided shelter to the “outsider” attackers — at his residence, and at the houses of Kanwar Bath and Baljit Kaur as well.

Sonu, the DGP said, was the brother-in-law of Nishan Singh and helped in arranging shelter.

The DGP said attackers stayed in border districts for around 15 days, moved from there on May 7, and launched the attack on May 9.

On the instructions of Landa, Nishan received the rocket-propelled grenade used in the attack, said the DGP, adding that the weapon was either of Russian or Bulgarian origin.

Bhawra said “Rambo”, a Tarn Taran resident, also received an AK-47 and handed it to Charhat Singh.
On Landa, the DGP said: “He is based in Canada. He is still involved in making ransom calls to doctors, businessmen, singers etc.”

The DGP said the attack was aimed at sending out a signal. “[Such a] time [was] chosen when all officers had gone,” he said.

The arrested accused

Nishan Singh: A resident of Kulla village in Tarn Taran district, he is alleged to have provided shelter to the attackers and retrieved and handed over the RPG to them on the instructions of Landa. Nishan was booked in over a dozen cases from August 2012 to January this year for offences including murder, attempt to murder, drugs. He was released from Faridkot jail around two months ago after acquittal in one of these cases. He continues to face trial in number of other cases against him.

Anantdeep Singh aka Sonu: A resident of Guru Nanak Colony in Amritsar, he is brother-in-law of Nishan and allegedly helped the unknown accused provide the local support in Amritsar.

Kanwarjit Singh alias Kanwar Bath: A resident of Gumtala in Amritsar, he was in touch with Nishan for many years and allegedly provided shelter to both unknown accused.

Baljit Kaur alias Sukhi: A resident of Kot Khalsa in Amritsar, he runs a tea stall near Amritsar Railway Station and is alleged to have provided shelter to both the unknown accused at the behest of Nishan from April 28 to May 7.

Baljinder Singh aka Rambo: A Patti resident, he was earlier arrested in a drugs case and is allegedly a drug addict. On the instructions of Nishan, he delivered the consignment of AK-47 to Charhat Singh and two unknown persons on Kulla-Patti road.

Jagdeep Singh Kang: A resident of Mohali, Jagdeep is alleged to have recced the intelligence wing headquarters of Punjab Police along with Charhat Singh on May 9 before the RPG attack was carried out at around 7:45 pm. Police are learnt to have taken into possession the Toyota Fortuner used in the recce. Kang was arrested Thursday from Ashoka Hotel in Delhi and is on police remand till May 21 after being produced in a local court.

Those wanted in the case

Lakhbir Singh Landa: The 33-year-old, who according to police is a gangster and basically hails from Harike in Tarn Taran district, is currently residing in Saskatoon in Canada. As per Punjab Police, Landa is “a habitual offender” and “various criminal cases of murder, attempt to murder, extortion, drug smuggling, kidnapping and illegal arms have been registered against him in different police stations of Punjab.” The dossier further reads, “He is close aide of wanted gangster Harvinder Singh Rinda and arrested gangster Dilpreet Singh alias Baba Dahan”. The dossier points out, “These gangster used Lakhbir aka Landa as their communication exchange and demand ransom, extortion through him. Landa has built his crime network across the State. He fled to Canada in 2017”.

It further read, “Operating from Canada, he is using small time criminals for contract killing, extortion, ransom etc. He threatens rich persons (businessmen, doctors, celebrities etc.) to get huge extortion money from them.

The dossier mentions a number of criminal activities carried out allegedly on the instance of Landa including taking illegal possession of a disputed land in Lakhna village under Valtoha police station in June 2021; snatching of a car in March 2021 from Sarhali; and demanding and extorting money from an arhtiya (commission agent) of Sheron village in Tarn Taran district; from an Amritsar based doctor whose son’s car was subsequently snatched; and firing gunshots at the house of a Punjabi singer. Landa is alleged to have carried out all such criminal activities by entrusting the same to his associate Preet Sekhon. The dossier also links Landa to Patti double murder case, noting that “on May 27, 2021, on the instance of Landa, Preet Sekhon and Jarmanjit murdered Amandeep Singh alias Fauji and Prabhdeep Singh alias Pooran.

Role in Mohali attack case: Landa, as per police, is one of the main conspirators. “He used his local network of criminals for logistic support. He facilitated the movement and hideouts of the main accused. He is also involved in organizing weapons and explosives in the case. The RPG used in the case and other weapons were picked up by his associates at his behest and were further given to the main accused. Charhat and Nishan were working on his directions,” reads a note on his role in Mohali blast case.

Charhat Singh: 33-year-old resident of Mehadipur village in Tarn Taran district, Charhat is alleged to have “initially received two unknown accused and provided them hideouts and other logistic support in Amritsar”. He is alleged to have done a recce of the intelligence headquarters along with Kang and later accompanied the attackers when they launched the RPG attack.” He is serving life sentence in a murder case registered at Khemkaran police station and was out on parole.

Two unknown accused: DGP Bhawra described them as “outsiders” and while responding to a question on their identity said gangsters were providing for the “foot-soldiers”.

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