Punjab Police on Friday arrested a 21-year-old man who, they claim, is the second sharpshooter behind most of the targeted killings in Punjab, including that of RSS and Shiv Sena leaders. The suspect identified as Hardeep Singh alias Shera, from Majri Kishne Wali of Amloh, was arrested from a gym in Fatehgarh Sahib. This comes two days after the police arrested Ramandeep Singh alias ‘Raman Canadian’, also an alleged sharpshooter involved in the targeted killings, from Chuhrawali village of Ludhiana.
Addressing mediapersons in Ludhiana, Punjab DGP Suresh Arora said that as per initial probe, “It is the nexus between Pakistan-based Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) that is coming into play.”
“The investigation is still ongoing but it is coming out as a conspiracy between the ISI and KLF,” said Arora, adding that the “links of the conspiracy designed and executed by handlers based in Pakistan are getting connected to Italy, UK, Canada and some other countries.”
“However, it is confirmed that they were getting foreign funding,” he said.
“Hardeep used to flee abroad after killings. We are probing which other countries he visited. But from his passport it is clear that he fled to Italy after firing at (RSS leader Jagdish) Gagneja,” said Arora.
After opening fire on Gagneja on August 6 last year, Hardeep fled to Italy on August 12, he said.
Around 7.30 am on Friday, a police team arrested Hardeep from Bajwa Gymnasium at Fatehgarh Sahib, where he was exercising with his weapon kept aside. The DGP said Hardeep tried to overpower the police team and reach his weapon but did not succeed.
The DGP said Ramandeep and Hardeep executed all the killings together on a motorcycle. Ramandeep would usually ride the bike while Hardeep would shoot, he added.
According to the police, Hardeep was a better shooter than Ramandeep and also took brief training, shot at most of the targets including Gagneja, Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta, church pastor Sultan Masih, RSS leader Ravindra Gosain and Hindu Takht leader Amit Sharma. In case of Gosain, Hardeep opened fire with both hands using two pistols.
Both Ramandeep and Hardeep allegedly opened fire at a father-son duo at the Dera Sacha Sauda canteen in Jaghera of Khanna. Ramandeep also shot at RSS worker Naresh Kumar at Kidwai Nagar of Ludhiana and Shiv Sena leader Amit Arora, but they survived the attack, the police said.
Arora added that the role of KLF commander Harminder Singh Mintoo — the main accused in the Nabha jailbreak and who is currently being interrogated at Moga — in getting foreign funding for the killings is being probed.
“There was funding from foreign countries for these killings and the details are being probed. Mintoo’s role in getting foreign funding for these murders is under probe but there are substantial leads. We are probing his specific role from the period when he was in Thailand,” he said.