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Terror charges against 4 Punjabis in Germany

india Updated: May 20, 2011 01:12 IST
Manpreet Randhawa

The German authorities have framed charges against four Sikh men for conspiring to kill Radha Soami Satsang Beas head Gurinder Singh in Vienna (Austria) last year, even as their families in Punjab have expressed disbelief over their alleged involvement in terror activities.

Gurmit Singh, alias Bagga, Bhupinder Singh, alias Bhinda, Jagtar Singh Mahal and Sukhpreet Singh Mahal have been charged with terror activities and membership of the banned Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF).

Bagga hails from Jhajj village in Hoshiarpur district, while Bhinda is from Shadipur village in Jalandhar district. Jagtar and Sukhpreet belong to Longomahal village of Ajnala in Amritsar district. All are in the age group of 31 to 41.

They have been accused of plotting to kill the dera head on July 28, 2010; the plot, however, was foiled by a heavy police presence.

Bagga’s father Paramjit Singh said he (Bagga) had left for Germany to earn a living in 2000 when he was 24.

"In 2008, the Jagraon police allegedly recovered a packet of RDX from his house and registered a case against Bagga’s brother Gurdeep Singh. Thereafter, Bagga never called up,” said Paramjit, adding that Bagga had told them that he was living in Hamburg (Germany).

Bagga’s family, which had taken a loan to send him abroad, has been struggling to make ends meet. “We spent a lot to clear Gurdeep’s name from the false case registered against him. We have no idea that Bagga is involved in terror activities,” said Nirmal Kaur, his mother.

Gurdarshan Singh of Shadipur village in Jalandhar district said his son Bhinda had gone to Germany in 1992. “First, he went to England, then Nigeria and finally reached Germany,” he added.

Gurdarshan said he had demanded Rs 50,000 from Bhinda about six years ago for purchasing a buffalo. As soon as the money arrived, the police came to know about it and took it away. Thereafter, Bhinda never called up, he said.

Before Bhinda went to Germany, his name figured in two murder cases. “I cannot believe that he planned a conspiracy to kill the Radha Soami head,” Gurdarshan said.

Meanwhile, sources said a team of German officials had come to Punjab in February to gather more information about the four men from state intelligence agencies.

The German authorities had reveled to Indian intelligence agencies that Bagga and Bhinda were associated with KZF and in constant touch with its chief, Ranjit Singh Neeta, currently based in Pakistan.

Bhinda and Bagga were issuing instructions to their conduits in Vienna to eliminate the dera head during his visit to Austria, the German authorities told intelligence agencies.

The intelligence agencies revealed that Jagtar and Sukhpreet also owed allegiance to the KZF and were actively associated with the outfit.

“After the September 11 attacks, there has been greater cooperation among security and intelligence agencies in terms of sharing information about terror suspects. As a result, it is not necessary to track them physically. Once information is flashed across the globe, such elements can be trapped anywhere in the world,” said a senior Punjab Police official.