Man who planted IED under cop’s car in Amritsar among seven held
Canada-based gangster Lakhbir Landa turns out to be mastermind; police have recovered motorcycle used for planting IED, 5 mobile phones, besides cash, including foreign currency, from the accused
Chandigarh : Punjab Police have cracked the Amritsar improvised explosive device (IED) case with the arrest of seven persons, including a man who had planted the explosive under a sub-inspector’s car August 16, police said on Saturday.
The police claimed it to be the handiwork of Canada-based gangster Lakhbir Singh, alias Landa. Gangster Landa (33), who is native of Tarn Taran, fled to Canada in 2017. According to the police, he also conspired the rocket propelled grenade (RPG) attack at Punjab Police intelligence headquarters in Mohali. He is considered to be a close aide of Pakistan-based wanted gangster Harvinder Singh alias Rinda, who had joined hands with Babbar Khalsa International (BKI).
Punjab director general of police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav said on August 16, two unidentified motorcycle-borne men had planted an IED under a Mahindra Bolero (PB02-CK-0800) of sub-inspector Dilbag Singh parked outside his residence in the Ranjit Avenue area of Amritsar. The mobile phone-triggering IED weighing 2.79kg and carrying 2.17kg high explosive was recovered from the spot, he said.
The arrested man who planted prefabricated IED under the car has been identified as Deepak (22) of Patti in Tarn Taran, while six other arrested persons who had provided logistic, technical and financial support have been identified as Harpal Singh, who is a constable with Punjab Police, and Fatehdeep Singh, both residents of Sabra village in Tarn Taran, Rajinder Kumar alias Bau of Harike in Tarn Taran, Khushalbir Singh alias Chittu, Varinder Singh alias Abu and Gurpreet Singh alias Gopi, residents of Bhikhiwind. Varinder and Gopi, who were lodged in the Goindwal jail and are close aides of Landa, had roped in Khushalbir to retrieve the IED from the designated spot, the DGP said in a statement.
The police have also recovered the Hero HF-100 motorcycle (PB-38E-2670) used by Deepak for planting IED and five mobile phones from accused, besides ₹2.52 lakhs and USD 3,614, Euro 220, Pounds 170 and passports from possession of Fatehdeep and Harpal.
The DGP said the Amritsar commissionerate police got its first break in the case with the arrest of Harpal and Fatehdeep from the Delhi International Airport on the very next day of the incident, when both were trying to flee to Maldives.
The questioning of arrested persons revealed the involvement of Rajinder Bau, who fled to Shirdi after he failed to flee from India in absence of a second Covid-19 vaccination certificate, he said, adding that Bau was arrested with the assistance of ATS Mumbai on August 20.
Further investigations in the case established the role of two jail inmates Varinder and Gurpreet, who on directives of Canada-based terrorist Lakhbir Landa had arranged Khushalbir Chittu for retrieving the IED along with Fatehdeep and handing over to Deepak and his accomplice, who finally planted it under SI’s vehicle, he said, while adding that Khushalbir was arrested on August 21.
The DGP said that Khushalbir along with Fatehdeep had gone to fetch the IED from the spot pinpointed by Landa, who was also navigating them to the location via video chat.
“On 16th morning, on the instructions of Landa, Harpal, Fatehdeep and Rajinder Bau went to the Ranjit Avenue area to ensure that everything was right to detonate the IED,” he said, while adding that Landa was monitoring the entire operation by getting inputs from the trio.
The DGP said that Deepak, Fatehdeep, Rajinder Bau and Harpal had no criminal records and were lured by Landa to commit terror activities with a promise to settle them abroad illegally, specifically in Canada via other countries.
Commissioner of police (CP), Amritsar, Arun Pal Singh said the police have also identified the accomplice of Deepak, who accompanied him on motorcycle to plant the IED, besides identifying the owner of the motorcycle and a person who arranged the motorcycle. “Police teams are on manhunt to arrest the remaining accused persons and soon they will be behind the bars,” he added.
Constable Harpal will be dismissed from service for his role in terrorist activities. A case under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Explosives Substance Act has been at the Ranjit Avenue police station in Amritsar City.