The West Midlands police in the UK claimed to have arrested three persons in connection with the murder of Rulda Singh, then national chief of the RSS-affiliated Rashtriya Sikh Sangat in Patiala in 2009.
The arrests on Monday comes days after the recent visit of UK Secretary of State for Foreign Dominic Raab to India and ahead of the scheduled visit of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as chief guest on Republic Day.
Senior functionaries in Punjab Police and the central government told The Indian Express that UK nationals Gursharanbir Singh, Wahiwal, Amritbir Singh Wahiwal and Pyara Singh were arrested by the West Midlands police and were later bailed out following a court order.
As per a report by BBC, West Midlands police said they had arrested two men aged 37 and 40 in Coventary and a 38-year-old man in Wolverhampton.
“The [West Midlands] force said all the three had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder,” the BBC report said. It also said, “The three men were arrested on Monday after extradition warrants were issued at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.”
The report said, “They have been since released on bail with strict conditions.”
A senior Punjab Police official said Gursharanbir Singh and Pyara Singh had flown in from UK to execute the killing of Rulda Singh in 2009. The official said that Gursharanbir travelled on the passport of his brother Amritbir to commit the crime before he went back to UK.
Earlier, in September 2018, the West Midlands Counter-Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) had conducted a raid and searched Gursharanbir’s house.
In July 2010, after the Punjab Police shared details of the case with the West Midlands police, Gursharanbir was detained but released soon after. A UK police team had also visited Patiala in December 2010 and questioned other accused in the case, who were lodged in Nabha jail at the time.
In February 2015, a court in Patiala declared Gursharanbir a proclaimed offender in the case. The Punjab Police arrested five other men in the case, all of whom were acquitted by the court due to lack of evidence.
As per probe carried out by National Investigation Agency (NIA), Gursharanbir is also one of the chief conspirators in the case of targeted killings across Punjab in 2016-17, including the murder of RSS leader Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (Retd).
A government functionary said Gursharanbir, who was key associate of Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harminder Singh Mintoo who died in a Punjab jail in 2018, also faced three other cases between 2008 and 2009 for murder and unlawful activities, besides other offences.
Gursharanbir is also a close relative of British national Jagtar Singh Johal, one of the key accused in the targeted killings currently lodged in Nabha jail and described by the Punjab Police as a “prize catch”.
Some armed assailants had shot at Rulda Singh outside his home in Patiala on 29 July 2009. He died of the bullet injuries days later.
Ruldu Singh had reportedly visited the UK and other countries to urge Sikhs to return to India.