September 16, 2021 7:55:06 am
PUNJAB POLICE has added the names of two suspected terrorists from Pakistan, including an intelligence officer, to an FIR registered last month in connection with an oil tanker being set ablaze near an Amritsar village.
On the night of August 8, an oil tanker parked at Sharma filling station near Bhakha Tara Singh village of Ajnala had caught fire. Later, police found that four persons had allegedly used an explosive device to set the tanker ablaze.
DGP Dinkar Gupta said in a press statement, “Pak-based International Sikh Youth Federation chief Lakhbir Singh Rode and Qasim, a resident of Pakistan, were behind the incident with oil tanker. Lakhbir Singh Rode alias Baba is a native of village Rode in district Moga, who is currently based in Pakistan, was behind the terror module.”
Four more persons — Rubal Singh of Village Bhakha Tara Singh, Vicky Bhutti of Ballharwal, Malkeet Singh and Gurpreet Singh alias Gopi, both of Uggar Aulakh — were arrested on Tuesday in connection with this case.
“While Rubal, also wanted in a murder case of September 1, 2021, was picked up from Ambala around 5 pm yesterday, the other three were nabbed from their villages in Ajnala, Amritsar. Their fifth accomplice, Gurmukh Brar, was arrested earlier by Kapurthala Police, on August 20,” said the DGP.
He added, “The Pakistani intelligence officer, identified as Qasim, and International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) chief Rode had promised to transfer over Rs 2 lakh to the terrorist module for carrying out the blast. Investigations into the financial aspects are also being carried out to unravel the money trail. Rubal and Vicky Bhutti were in touch with Qasim, who was working in close collaboration with Rode. Rode and Qasim had reportedly tasked the four members of a terrorist module to blast an oil tanker for causing maximum damage to people and property.”
According to police, preliminary investigations have revealed that Gurmukh had placed a tiffin IED at Hambowal on Jalandhar-Amritsar highway, from where, on August 6, Vicky, Malkeet and Gurpreet Singh picked it up on the directions of Rode and Qasim. The trio hid the bomb near a canal in the Rajasansi area. A pen drive was attached with the tiffin box, which contained a video with detailed steps on how to operate the tiffin bomb IED. After retrieval of the tiffin bomb IED, Vicky and Rubal were tasked by Rode to place it on an oil tanker to create a big explosion and cause maximum damage. On August 8, these terrorist operatives carried out recce of Sharma filling station during the day and placed the IED at around 11 pm, with the timer of the bomb set to 8 minutes. The blast took place at around 11.30 pm, leading to the fire in the tank of the oil tanker.
All the five arrested operatives, alongwith Rode and Qasim, have been booked in FIR no. 260 dated 11-8-2021 registered under section U/S 436,427 IPC, 13, 16, 18, 18 B, 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 and Section 3, 4, 5 of Explosive Substances (Amendment) Act, 2001.
Analysis of the CCTV footage at the filling station showed that four unknown persons had come near the petrol pump at about 11 pm and had stayed there for a few minutes, before going towards Amritsar side. The suspects returned at about 11.19 pm and placed some suspicious material on the fuel tank of the tanker before fleeing. Then, at about 11.29 pm, two of the suspects returned, and within a minute, there was an explosion and the fire.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the police to be on high alert, particularly in view of schools and educational institutions reopening, as well as the festival season and the Assembly polls ahead. He has reportedly asked the DGP to ensure high level of security arrangements to be put in place, especially in busy places, such as markets etc, as well as at sensitive installations across the state.
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