Updated: December 25, 2021 2:59:58 pm
Based on a tattoo and a mobile phone, the body recovered from the blast site at the Ludhiana district court has been identified as that of a former Punjab Police Head Constable who was sacked in 2019 after being booked in a case of alleged drug smuggling, a senior police officer told The Indian Express. The hearing in his case was scheduled for Friday.
He has been identified as Gagandeep Singh (30), a resident of Lalheri road in Khanna, the officer said. “He was dismissed from service after his arrest in August 2019 and spent two years in jail before being bailed out in September this year,” said another senior officer from Khanna.
The hearing in the case was scheduled on Friday in the court of Ludhiana Additional Sessions Judge Shatin Goyal. Police are probing why he visited the court a day before the hearing.
When contacted, Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa confirmed the finding. “He was identified from a tattoo on his body and a mobile phone recovered from the spot,” Randhawa said.
Police sources said the tattoo depicted the “Khanda”, which is a Sikh religious symbol.
Hours after the blast on Thursday, in which six others were injured, Ludhiana Police Commissioner Gurpreet Singh Bhullar had said that police believe the man was carrying the explosives on his body or was planning to plant them. The blast had occurred in the washroom on the second floor of the court complex.
According to an officer with Khanna Police, Gagandeep Singh alias Gaggi was arrested on August 11, 2019, after 400 gm of heroin was allegedly seized from a car in which two of his accomplices, Amandeep Singh and Vikas Kumar, were travelling in Sector 39 of Ludhiana. An FIR was registered by the anti-drugs STF under stringent sections of the NDPS Act in Mohali.
The officer said that during interrogation, they allegedly revealed that they got the drugs from Gagandeep Singh, who sourced them from Delhi. The police then arrested Gagandeep and allegedly recovered 385 gm of heroin from his possession.
An officer in Ludhiana, who was part of the team that arrested Gagandeep, said: “He had joined the police as a Constable eight years ago (in 2011) and was promoted to Head Constable. He was married and posted at Khanna about eight months before his arrest. During interrogation, he said that he started selling drugs about six months earlier to small peddlers and addicts.”
Police sources said they suspect that Gagandeep came in contact with radicalised elements in jail and that they were probing if the blast was linked to the Punjab polls scheduled next year. They said that an NIA team visited Gangandeep’s residence in Khanna on Friday evening after his family identified him.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had said that the probe into the blast would be linked to investigations in the sacrilege bid at Golden Temple and the FIR registered against SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia.
On Friday, Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju visited the Ludhiana court complex and said the Centre and the state governments will work together to ensure “strong action against the culprits” behind the blast. Rijiju said politics should not be played on sensitive issues, and that Channi has assured full support in the investigation.
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