The Punjab Police have solved the killing of RSS leader Jagdish Kumar Gagneja, as well as some other high-profile killings in the state, with the busting of a “terror module” and the arrest of four persons, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced on Tuesday.
Making the announcement at a specially convened press conference here, Singh said the arrests had exposed “a major conspiracy hatched by ISI to fan communal disturbances and disrupt peace in the state”.
Flanked by DGP Suresh Arora and DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta, the Chief Minister said three of the suspects have been identified as Jimmy Singh, a Jammu resident who recently returned to India from UK after spending some years there, and was picked up from Delhi’s IGI Airport a week ago; Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, a UK national who got married in Punjab on October 18 and was apprehended in Jalandhar; Dharmender alias Guggni, a gangster from Meharban in Ludhiana who is lodged in the high security prison at Nabha but is said to have supplied weapons for the killings.
Singh said the identity of the fourth person could not be disclosed yet. He was the main shooter in these cases and was caught this afternoon. His interrogation was still continuing, he said.
The Chief Minister said that with these arrests, the killing of Gagneja last year and some other murder cases — Amit Sharma, publicity manager of Sri Hindu Takht, in Ludhiana in January 2017; Durga Dass Gupta, head of the Labour Wing of Punjab Shiv Sena, in Khanna in April 2016; Pastor Sultan Masih in Ludhiana in July 2017; Dera Sacha Sauda follower Satpal Kumar and his son in Khanna in February 2017; and RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Ludhiana last month — had also been solved.
He said the interrogation of the “four conspirators” showed that “they had met and been trained in various places abroad and had been using encrypted mobile software/ apps for communication with handlers based in Pakistan and some western countries”.
Responding to a question, he said the ISI was “always looking out to disturb the country’s peace and to radicalise the youth”. “It is evident from the investigations that the targeted killings were aimed at fanning communal disturbances to further ISI’s anti-India gameplan since there were strong indications of the active involvement of Pakistani intelligence operatives based in Pakistan and foreign soil,” he said.
Singh said the police had forensic and ballistic evidence against the four accused. He said the role of a gangster lodged in Nabha jail also “endorses the suspicions of a growing nexus between radicals and gangsters.”
DGP Arora said the assailants left their “footprints” behind in each case. “Similar weapons were used in the killing of Durga Dass Gupta, Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja, Satpal Kumar and his son, Pastor Sultan Masih, and RSS leader Ravinder Gosain,” he said.
He said the weapons used in all the cases, including in the shootout at a RSS shakha in Ludhiana, were standard 9mm, .32 and .30 bore pistols.
The Chief Minister said though it was Punjab Police that had cracked the killings, the evidence in the Gagneja case would be handed over to CBI. “With the busting of this terror module, we have busted eight such modules in the last seven months of forming the government,” he said.
He added that he had directed the DGP to work out a system of awards and rewards for the police team that busted this module and for the future too.