KZF chief Neeta was transporter in JammuUpdated: Sep 28, 2019 01:17 IST
BLURB Was mastermind behind terror module and smuggling of weapons from Pak by using drones
CHANDIGARH Ranjeet Singh Neeta, chief of banned terror group Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), who is the mastermind behind the recently busted terror module and smuggling of a cache of arms by using drones, originally belongs to Jammu and was a transporter, before he joined the terror ranks and finally fled to Pakistan in 1990s.
Neeta, who is around 60 as per intelligence agencies, lives in Lahore in a posh house and enjoys facilities provided by the ISI’s special intelligence wing that looks after Khalistan affairs. He has a strong support among the pro-Khalistan extremists sitting in Europe.
It was due to increase in activities of KZF that European Union (EU) had banned this organisation in 2005.
Neeta is said to be the ISI’s pointman behind facilitating close proximity between Khalistani extremists and Kashmiri terror groups prompting them to help each other in spreading terror in India.
India has repeatedly asked Neeta’s extradition from Pakistan in the past two decades. He still figures among the top 20 men who are settled in foreign countries and are wanted in India in different terror cases.
KZF hardly had any local support during terrorism days and the organisation hogged limelight after perpetrating terror acts after late 1990s with full support from Pakistan.
Punjab Police officials claim that before forming KZF, Neeta first came in contact with small-time drug peddlers in Jammu, Samba and RS Pura areas and was later introduced to big smugglers backed by ISI.
Over half-a-dozen FIRs were filed against Neeta. These included those pertaining to bomb blasts on trains and buses running between Jammu and Pathankot between 1988 and 1999. Another FIR was filed against him by the Kathua police in October 2001, for the assassination of deputy superintendent of police Devinder Sharma.
In May 2009, KZF admitted of killing religious leader of Dera Sachkhand Ballan (Jalandhar), Rama Nand, in Vienna in Austria.
The probe conducted by Punjab Police so far has revealed that Neeta masterminded smuggling of arms and also involved his Germany-based associate Gurmeet Singh Bagga, alias ‘Doctor’, in the conspiracy.
The two set up sleeper cells, radicalised and recruited local members identified as Bawa Balwant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh. Both Akashdeep and Baba Balwant Singh have a criminal past with multiple criminal cases against them.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that Maan Singh, currently lodged in Amritsar Jail in a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Arms Act, had recruited Akashdeep Singh in terror module at the behest Bagga.
Balwant Singh is a member of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist organisation, and was earlier arrested in a case under the UAPA and Arms Act in Mohali.
To involve Baba and Maan Singh in the task was Neeta’s idea as he had old ties with the two.
“Neeta masterminded this task on the direction of ISI. The probe has revealed that Bagga visited Neeta in Pakistan a few days before the conspiracy was hatched after abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir,” said a senior Punjab Police official.
First Published: Sep 28, 2019 01:17 IST