Security forces have recovered 11 hand grenades dropped by a drone launched from Pakistan, from Salach village, located about one km from the International Border, in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, police Monday said.
The consignment, recovered on Sunday morning, is believed to have been dropped by a drone that was fired upon separately by the Border Security Force (BSF) and Punjab Police personnel personnel Saturday night.
Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said BSF personnel deployed at the Chakri border outpost in the Gurdaspur sector noticed a Pakistani drone entering the Indian territory around 11.30 pm on Saturday and immediately fired multiple shots to bring it down. They also alerted the Gurdaspur police about the incident following which personnel from Dorangla police station reached the spot. They too fired multiple shots at the drone, the DGP said.
A search and combing operation was launched Sunday morning during which a plastic box containing hand grenades was recovered from near Dhussi Bandh in Salach village.
“The box had been attached with a wooden frame and lowered from the drone to the ground with a nylon rope. Made in Austria, the Arges-type HG 84 is a conventional hand grenade system, designed to inflict massive damage against soft targets spraying shrapnel out to a distance of 30 metres,” said the DGP, adding that the drone was however not recovered and it is suspected that it managed to fly back into Pakistan territory.
A case under sections 3, 4, 5 of the Explosive Substances Act was registered at Dorangla police station on Sunday.
The recovery of Arges-type HG 84 grenades comes at a time when Punjab Police are investigating a drone module that it busted on December 14 with international links in Amritsar (Rural) district. It had arrested two Delhi-based suppliers of drones, taking the total number of arrests in the case to eight, including the four jailed smugglers who were found connected with the case.
“Four drones, one partially constructed drone, video transmitter system, drone hardware and other crucial evidence has been recovered in the case, in which investigations so far have revealed key links between Pakistan-based entities who were actively involved in the latest drone module as well as the earlier two modules,” said Gupta. Further technical analysis and investigation is being conducted to unravel the nexus of the accused with Pakistan-based smugglers, including their links with militant outfits, he added.
Two arrested from Delhi for illegally selling, assembling drones
Meanwhile, the DGP said, investigations into the December 14 drone module case had led to the arrest of Lucky Dhawan, a Delhi resident from whom the prime arrested accused, Lakhbir Singh, had bought the quadcopter drone along with the SkyDroid T10 2.4GHz 10CH FHSS Transmitter with mini receiver and camera support. “A raid was conducted on Dhawan’s TRD Enterprises, BB – 28D, Janakpuri, New Delhi, by a police party led by ASP (UT) SHO Gharinda police station, Maninder Singh, on December 19,” he added.
Dhawan’s questioning revealed that he was involved in the procurement, sale, assembly and repair of drones and drone components without any valid government authorisation or license, he said, adding that four mobile phones, 13 rubber stamps and two files containing receipts were also recovered from the search of the premises.
“Lucky Dhawan further revealed that he had supplied the Quadcopter drone and the SkyDroid T10 system to Lakhbir Singh without any formal documentation or billing, as required under government instructions. Lakhbir Singh had also prepared a forged Aadhaar card in the name of one Arshdeep Singh to fraudulently procure the drone. The forged and fabricated Aadhaar card has also been electronically recovered from seized from the mobile phone of Lucky Dhawan. He has been charged under sections 465, 467, 468, 471, 473, 420 of the IPC,” DGP added.
Lucky Dhawan further revealed that the drone supplied to Lakhbir Singh was assembled by one Baldev Singh, a resident of Meharganj in Delhi. Subsequently, Gharinda police station personnel raided and arrested Baldev from his premises. “Search of the workshop further led to the recovery of four drones and drone hardware – 1 450 Quadcopter drone, 1 DJI Phantom drone, 2 DJI 249 Mavic Mini Drones, 1 video transmitter system, 1 650 Quadcopter drone repair kit and 1 mobile phone,” DGP said.
Baldev Singh disclosed that he had procured drone components from different sources, including e–commerce sites such as Amazon and IndiaMart. “Apart from violations of DGCA regulations, Baldev Singh had also violated the provisions of technical requirements to be maintained by the manufacturers as the drone was locally assembled,” said Gupta.
He pointed out that DGCA regulations mandate that purchased drones are to be registered with the DGCA and a Unique Identification Number (UIN) is to be applied for and obtained, but that was not done.
Lucky Dhawan and Baldev Singh have been charged under sections 10, 11, 12 Aircraft Act, Sections 336, 287 of IPC in the FIR registered at Gharinda police station on December 14.
DGP said Lakhbir also revealed that he was involved in the fraudulent purchase of second-hand vehicles from Bhikiwind, Tarn Taran, and used to tamper with their chassis number and prepare forged documents to sell the tampered vehicles at a profit. Three such vehicles have been recovered.
Four Ajnala based smugglers who were in contact with Lakhbir Singh from inside Amritsar Jail – Harjit Singh, Sarabjit Singh, Simranjit Singh and Surjit Masih — have also been nominated and arrested in the case. Four mobile phones have been recovered from their possession by Amritsar Jail authorities.
‘Pak based entities were in contact with the accused’
Investigations, DGP said, had revealed the names of three key Pakistan-based entities – Chishti, Malik and Maqsood — who were in contact with the arrested accused. Chishti was also in close contact with the accused arrested in the Akashdeep drone module case busted by Punjab Police in September 2019. Furthermore, Malik was in contact with the accused Ajaypal Singh, arrested in the drone module busted by Punjab Police in January this year, added the DGP.