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NIA chargesheets 12 in terror-gangster nexus case with links to Pakistan conspirators, Khalistan

Mar 21, 2023 08:33 PM IST

NIA is investigating 10 more people for their alleged role in the terror conspiracy.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday filed its first charge sheet against 12 people, found to having links with pro-Khalistan outfits and Pakistan-based conspirators, in one of the three terror-gangster nexus cases being probed by the agency.

An NIA official said the investigation has revealed links of the charge-sheeted accused with the proscribed Khalistan Tiger Force. (PTI/representative)

The agency is investigating 10 more people for their alleged role in the terror conspiracy, including plans to eliminate certain leaders, singers and businessmen to terrorise people, extort money from them and create a sensation, a spokesperson of the federal agency said.

The official said the investigation has revealed links of the charge-sheeted accused with the proscribed Khalistan Tiger Force and its operative Arshdeep Singh Gill alias Arsh Dala, a listed "Individual Terrorist".

Besides being in contact with Pakistan-based conspirators, the accused were in touch with pro-Khalistan elements based in Canada and other countries, the spokesman said.

Also read: Pro-Khalistan Twitter accounts blocked in India

The charge sheet, filed in a court here, was against Gill, Gaurav Patyal, Sukhpreet Buddha, Kaushal Choudhary, Amit Dagar, Naveen Bali, Chhotu Bhat, Asif Khan, Jagga Takhatmal, Tillu Tajpuria, Bhupi Rana and Sandeep Bandar.

"The charge sheet against them followed six months of extensive searches and examination of around 100 members of different organised crime support networks by the NIA at 91 locations in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, across 25 districts leading to the seizure of large amounts of incriminating materials," the spokesperson said.

The NIA said it has also unearthed centres created for harbouring the gang members and stocking weapons for them in various places across Haryana and Punjab.

Around 20 weapons, 527 rounds of ammunition, 195 digital devices and 281 documents were seized in these raids and searches, while three immovable properties and three movable properties have been attached under relevant sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The spokesperson said the case related to dismantling of the gangster-terror network, along with their funding and support infrastructure.

"These gangs were conspiring to carry out targeted killings and were also raising funds to carry out these and other terror activities as part of a deep-rooted conspiracy amongst terrorists, gangsters, drug smugglers and their networks, operating from both within and outside the country,” the official said.

The NIA said it was revealed during the investigation that most of the accused were, till recently, operating their own separate gangs involved in extortion rackets.

"They initially transformed into a gangsters' syndicate to expand their area of influence in other states, but soon ended up in a deadly criminal-terror nexus after being exposed to exploitation by terrorist elements. Sophisticated weapons and availability of a large pool of cheap shooters made the gangsters' syndicate an attractive choice for the terrorist outfits," the official said.

The official said the case has also brought to light links of the gangsters with the music industry, singers, kabaddi players and advocates on the lines of the pre-1993 Mumbai blasts era when extensive links of the underworld with the business people and the film industry had surfaced.

It has further been found that family members of many of the gangsters lodged in prisons are helping them in carrying out extortion activities from behind bars, the spokesperson said.

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