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NIA closes in on Punjab-based masterminds of Indian high commission attack

Top 5NIA closes in on Punjab-based masterminds of Indian high commission attack

New Delhi

The attack on the Indian High Commission in London on 19 March was partially scripted in Punjab and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is now hunting for two Khalistani terrorists, who, until the time of the unsuccessful raids earlier this month, were living in the frontier state. Another 30 Khalistan sympathisers are on NIA’s wanted list in connection with the violent incident which attracted the attention of the international diplomatic fraternity.

During the raids on the houses of the Punjab-based terrorists earlier this month, investigators managed to collect crucial electronic evidence from laptops and mobile phones that helped unravel the identities of their supporters who had asked people to gather outside the Indian high commission in London for “peaceful protests”, sources said.

However, under the garb of gathering for peaceful protests, the terrorists gave inflammatory speeches, attacked an Indian official and caused grievous injuries to him and tried to disrespect the Indian National Flag. The Punjab link to the incident has baffled the investigators, who, until now, were presuming that the conspiracy to attack the high commission was almost entirely hatched and executed outside of India.
The key conspirators behind the fracas at the high commission were identified by investigators as Dal Khalsa UK’s Gurcharan Singh and Khalistan Liberation Force’s operative Avtar Singh Khanda and Jasvir Singh. While coordinating with investigating agencies of other countries, the NIA had crowdsourced information on the incident by releasing photos of five suspects involved on social media, said an investigator.
Khanda died in the UK in June due to cancer. An investigator said that he was an expert in IED-making and had held demos of bomb-making in places of worship in the UK.

Soon after the attack on the high commission, the Indian government had handed over the incident’s probe to the NIA whose team visited the crime scene in May to gather evidence. The CCTV footage of cameras installed on roads leading to the premises were also scanned to build the chain of events and identify the key conspirators.

Meanwhile, two pro-Khalistan terrorists coming from Manila were arrested by NIA earlier this week soon after they landed at the Delhi airport. The two, Manpreet Singh alias Peeta and Mandeep Singh, are alleged operatives of Canada-based “listed terrorist” Arsh Dala, the agency said in a statement.

The two, both Punjab natives living in the Philippines, until recently, were wanted in connection with alleged terror acts, including threats and intimidation, and terror funding for banned terrorist groups. Non-bailable warrants had been issued by an NIA court in Delhi against them in cases related to alleged terrorist activities. The duo has also been booked in Punjab in connection with criminal cases.

NIA investigations had revealed that the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy to raise funds for Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a banned terrorist organisation. They were also engaged in smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives for the KTF from across the border.

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