Chargesheet in RSS leader murder case: Targeted killings have footprints in Pakistan, other countries, says NIA

The chargesheet mentioned 172 prosecution witnesses, including 28 ‘protected’ ones whose identity will not be disclosed to anyone, not even the defence counsel, during the trial.

Written by Jagdeep Singh Deep | Mohali | Updated: May 5, 2018 4:51:39 pm
nia, rss leader murder case, ravinder gosain, pakistan, national intelligence agency, indian express The chargesheet mentioned 172 prosecution witnesses, including 28 ‘protected’ ones whose identity will not be disclosed to anyone, not even the defence counsel, during the trial.

THE National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a chargesheet against the accused in the 2017 killing of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain. According to the chargesheet, the accused “used to get their execution plans from Pakistan and several other countries over various social networking sites”. The chargesheet was filed against 15 accused in the Special NIA Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Anshul Berry. The case will now come up for hearing on May 22.

Gosain was shot dead outside his house in Ludhiana on the morning of October 17, 2017. “The conspiracy had its footprints in several countries including Pakistan, the UK, Australia, France, Italy and the UAE,” the investigating agency said in its 1,500-page chargesheet.

“Killing of Gosain was part of a transnational conspiracy hatched by the senior leadership of the Khalistan Liberation Force. Eight incidents of targeted killings/attempted killings were executed as part of this conspiracy between January 2016 and October 2017 in Punjab. All the persons targeted belonged to certain specific communities and organisations. Objective of the conspiracy was to destabilise law and order situation in Punjab and revive fledgling terrorism in the state,” the chargesheet said.

It said the accused used to communicate with each other through applications like Signal and Skype. It added that the accused received training on dodging CCTV cameras and the plan to execute the crime on mobile application Signal.

The NIA for the first time, in this case, has used “protected witnesses”. The chargesheet mentioned 172 prosecution witnesses, including 28 “protected” ones whose identity will not be disclosed to anyone, not even the defence counsel, during the trial.

Among the accused, the NIA has named Harmeet Singh alias PhD (suspected to be in Pakistan), Gurjinder Singh Shastri (Italy), Gursharanbir Singh (the UK) and Gurjant Singh (Australia).

Harminder Singh Mintoo, who died in Patiala jail on April 18, was also named in the chargesheet as an accused but the NIA abated his name after his death. The NIA has also moved an application for discharging Taljeet Singh alias Jimmy, from the case.

The conspiracy

The chargesheet mentioned that Mintoo and Shastri had first hatched the conspiracy in 2013. Shastri was a good friend of accused Hardeep Singh Shera’s uncle, with whom he used to live in Italy. Shera came in contact with Mintoo, who allegedly started radicalising him, through Shastri in 2013. They used to remain in touch on Skype.

In November 2014, Mintoo was arrested by the Thailand police, after which Shera and Shastri remained in touch through his Skype account. Shastri promised finances to Shera and asked him to work for the cause of “panth”. Shastri also took Shera to Paris in June 2013 where they met Jagtar Singh alias Jaggi Johal who gave 3,000 British pounds to Shera. Both Shera and accused Ramandeep Singh alias Canadian received a total of Rs 23.14 lakh from their handlers through different channels, including hawala, for carrying out the killing.

Shera spent Rs 4.85 lakh on purchasing weapons from gangster Dharminder Singh alias Gugni. He also purchased a Toyota Innova, 9mm, .32 bore and .30 bore pistols, which were used in the killing. The arms were purchased from Uttar Pradesh-based supplier Malook Tomar. The NIA also recovered Shera’s pictures with the weapons from his iPhone after his arrest.

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