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Lodged in Ludhiana jail, two gangsters booked in drug, terror cases under scanner

The Ludhiana police and NIA have been jointly investigating Thursday's blast at the Ludhiana district court complex, which killed one and injured six persons.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana |
Updated: December 30, 2021 7:20:28 pm
The development comes a day after police identified the deceased in the blast as dismissed Khanna police head constable Gagandeep Singh, who had earlier been booked in a drug case. (PTI photo)

The Ludhiana Police Saturday brought two gangsters from Ludhiana Central Jail on production warrant for questioning in the court complex blast case.

The development comes a day after police identified the deceased in the blast as dismissed Khanna police head constable Gagandeep Singh, who had earlier been booked in a drug case. The two gangsters in question are in jail in connection with multiple drug and terror cases and also have alleged links with pro-Khalistan radical elements.

Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya has said that most probably Gagandeep came in contact with “Khalistani and narco-terrorism elements” during his stay in Ludhiana jail where he was lodged for two years after his arrest in heroin smuggling case in August 2019 and was bailed out in September this year.

On Saturday, Ludhiana police brought Ranjit Singh alias Baba and Sukhwinder Singh alias Soni alias Boxer on a production warrant from Ludhiana jail for questioning. Police said that while Ranjit Singh has multiple drug cases registered against him under the NDPS Act, Sukhwinder Singh was booked in multiple terror cases and had alleged links with weapon suppliers in Kashmir.

The DGP had also said that the role of pro-Khalistan operatives in Pakistan was also being probed. A senior police official from Ludhiana said that Ranjit and Sukhwinder have been brought on 7-day production warrant for questioning as they both had shared a barrack with Gagandeep Singh in Ludhiana jail. Ranjit Singh, a native of village Modhe (PS Gharinda) of Amritsar, was transferred from central jail Amritsar to central jail Ludhiana on January 12, 2019.

In one of the cases, he was booked for smuggling drugs from Pakistan. He has at least seven cases pending against him, majority of them registered under the NDPS Act for alleged drug smuggling, Prisons Act and Official Secrets Act. Sukhwinder Singh, a native of Rohno Khurd village of Khanna, is booked in at least 16 FIRs including those under the NDPS Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act and Arms Act.

Once a national level boxer, Sukhwinder was arrested with RDX by Banga police in 2012. He was also allegedly in touch with militant groups in Kashmir and procured AK-47 rifles from them. He was also allegedly a close associate of Kashmir Singh, one of the escapees in Nabha jailbreak.

A senior Ludhiana police official said that Sukhwinder had also allegedly been in touch with Pakistan-based Khalistani terrorist Harvinder Singh alias Rinda, a native of Tarn Taran who had moved to Nanded (Maharashtra) and then fled to Pakistan. He is alleged to be involved in radicalising several youths lodged in Punjab jails.

“Both Ranjit and Boxer have been in constant touch with pro-Khalistan groups and most probably, they radicalised Gagandeep during his stay in Ludhiana jail in the same barrack. We are questioning them,” said the officer.

The probe in Ludhiana court case is now also being widened to pro-Khalistan radicals — Pak-based Harvinder Singh alias Rinda and Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) kingpin Wadhawa Singh Babbar, who as per police, establish contact with youths in Punjab jails and radicalise them to carry out violence in Punjab. “Sukhwinder had once confessed during interrogation that he was asked by Rinda to procure AK-47 rifles and other weapons from militant groups in Kashmir,” said the officer. “Ahead of Punjab polls next year, they might have planned more trouble,” he added.

Meanwhile, a lady constable from Khanna who had close ties with Gagandeep was also questioned in the blast case Saturday.

Till now, the Ludhiana police and the NIA have been jointly investigating the Ludhiana court blast. A powerful explosion in Ludhiana district court complex killed one and injured six persons Thursday.

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