The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on June 6 conducted searches at 10 premises of Canada-based ‘individual designated terrorist’ Arshdeep Singh Dala’s aides in Punjab and Haryana.
The NIA’s action was taken a day after the NIA Special Court, Mohali, declared Dala a Proclaimed Offender (PO) in a targeted killing conspiracy case. The searches were conducted at 10 locations at the premises of associates of Arshdeep Singh Dala and his close aide and absconder, Manpreet Singh alias Peeta, currently living in the Philippines in a case registered suo moto by NIA on August 20 last year.
Several incriminating materials, including digital devices, were seized during the raids conducted as part of NIA’s crackdown on ‘individual terrorists’ and terrorist outfits engaged in criminal and terrorist activities in India.
A total of six accused have so far been arrested in the case (RC 37/2022/NIA/DLI) relates to the terror activities of proscribed terrorist organisations, such as Khalistan Liberation Force, Babbar Khalsa International, International Sikh Youth Federation and Khalistan Tiger Force.
“Such activities include smuggling of terrorist hardware, such as arms, ammunition explosive, Improvised Explosive Devices across international borders,” said the NIA.
“The smuggled goods are for use by operatives and members of terror outfits and organised criminal gangs operating in various parts of the country for carrying out terrorist acts like bomb explosions and targeted killings.”
The NIA investigations have revealed that Arshdeep Singh Dala as well as his associates based in different countries, including Manpreet Peeta in the Philippines, are continuously recruiting new cadres in India to carry out the activities of the banned terrorist organisation Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF).
“They are raising funds for the banned terrorist organisation through extortion and other means, and carrying out smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives from across the border,” said the anti-terror agency.
Arshdeep Singh Dala was declared a ‘listed terrorist’ under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in January this year through a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). He is accused of various offences, including targeted killings, attempted murder and extortion for raising funds for terrorist activities.
The raids came a day after Arshdeep Singh Dala was declared a PO in a case relating to a conspiracy to kill a Hindu priest at Jalandhar, Punjab. Kamaldeep Sharma, a priest at a temple located on main road of village Bharsinghpur in Phillaur, was attacked on January 31, 2021. Dala was a key conspirator in the case, planned by KTF’s self-styled chief Hardeep Nijjar, a native of the priest’s village. Hardeep Nijjar, currently based in Canada, was also designated as an ‘individual terrorist’ by the MHA in July 2020.
Hardeep Nijjar, who is the Head and President of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, Canada, has been proactively involved in recruiting, training, financing and operationalising pro-Khalistan terrorist modules for spreading terror in India. He is involved in giving inflammatory & hateful speeches through social media platforms. NIA has attached Hardeep Nijjar’s property in the same village in another case.
It was on the directions of Hardeep Nijjar, who is associated with the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) too, that Arshdeep Singh Dala had recruited Kamaljeet Sharma and Ram Singh, the two assailants of the priest.
NIA said that Arshdeep Singh Dala was also arranging weapons for the shooters and sending terror funds through various MTSS channels, besides extorting funds from various business entities in Punjab. He was engaged in promoting terror activities of the proscribed KTF, which is also involved in kidnapping and killing people of other faiths to spread fear and disharmony in Punjab.
The priest’s attack case was initially registered at Police Station Phillaur. It was subsequently taken over by NIA and re-registered (RC-27/2021/NIA/DLI) on October 8, 2021. The NIA had filed two chargesheets in the case and a non-bailable warrant was issued on July 1 last year against Arshdeep Singh Dala by the NIA Special Court.
Later, on May 31 last year, Red Corner Notice (RCN) was issued by CBI-India, Interpol, following which the NIA Special Court initiated proceedings against him under section 82 CrPC and declared him a PO after he failed to surrender before it.
(with inputs from ANI)