The dreaded Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Bakshish Singh, alias Baba, arrested by the Punjab Police planned to blow up the Amritsar bus stand or Sabzi Mandi, police said on Sunday.
Hindustan Times had on Saturday reported the arrest of the KLF terrorist wanted in various terror activities, including an attack on the Sirsa-based chief of Dera Sacha Sauda. The police, however, said he was nabbed on Sunday morning.
The arrest also led to the seizure of explosives, including 2.3 kg of RDX, a .30-bore pistol, 28 cartridges and one detonator from the terrorist, who the police believe was planning a serious terror strike in the city.
The police, who had thus far not announced the arrest, produced Singh, 35, in court, which granted them his custody for five days on Sunday.
Heavy security arrangements had been made at the judicial complex.
Amritsar Police Commissioner Varinder Kumar said, "There was specific information about Bakshish Singh’s movement in the area. A special team conducted a search of the Sultanwind area of Amritsar, which led to the accused being nabbed while riding a bicycle around 4.50 a.m. on Sunday."
"During preliminary investigation, Singh revealed he was to attempt terror strikes in Amritsar, targeting the bus stand or Sabzi Mandi in Amritsar on Sunday with explosives."
The top KLF operative was wanted by the police for suspected involvement in planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the LPG bottling plant at Nabha and Air Force Station, Halwara, earlier this year. Bakshish had also planned and executed the attack on Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, near Karnal in February 2008, the police commissioner said.
The state government had earlier announced a reward of Rs. 5 lakh for Singh’s arrest, while Haryana had announced Rs. 1 lakh.
Although the Haryana Police had arrested a few of Singh’s associates after the attack on the Dera chief, the prime suspect himself had managed to escape to Malaysia with the help of another wanted terrorist, Harminder Singh, alias Mintu. He thereafter reached Pakistan.
"Bakshish Singh has confessed to arranging explosives for the attack on the Dera chief and also executing the plan along with his associates. He has also confessed to planting the IEDs at Nabha and Halwara," the police commissioner said.
The police said he had also planted the bomb on a cycle in Amritsar recently that injured a watchman.
To a question whether the terrorist planned to attack any political figure, the commissioner said more revelations were likely as the investigation was still on.
Bakshish Singh was involved in more than 20 terror-related incidents, including bomb blasts, murders, kidnapping for ransom, possession of high-grade explosive, and planting IEDs. Among the states he was active in were Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab, the police said.
He was earlier arrested on August 21, 1999, by the Delhi Police and remained lodged in Nabha Jail till January 2005.
"Bakshish had joined the Bhindranwala Tiger Force of Khalistan (Sangha group) at an early age in the early 1990s, and later joined the Khalistan Commando Force. At present, he was associated with the Khalistan Liberation Force, trying to revive the terror organisation by carrying out a series of explosions in the state at the instance of the ISI of Pakistan," Kumar said.
The police, however, did not find any connection of the terrorist with the RDX-laden car that was found in Amritsar.
A case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act, 3, 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, and 17, 18, 19 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act has been registered at the State Special Operations Cell police station.