Punjab Police find half-burnt drone which smuggled weapons from Pakistan
Punjab Police said that four members of the terror group Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) who were arrested on Sunday, disclosed during interrogation that they had burnt the drone which failed to fly back to Pakistan after dropping weapons near a border village in Tarn Taran.
A police official privy to the development said the drone had failed to fly back to Pakistan after dropping arms in Indian territory near the Pakistan border.
HT reported on Monday that security agencies have warned the Centre that terrorists may use small drones to ferry small arms and ammunition across the heavily guarded border to be used by ultras already in Kashmir valley.
On Sunday, police arrested Balwant Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Balbir Singh of the KZF from Chola Sahib village in Tarn Taran and seized five AK-47 rifles, along with 16 magazines and 472 rounds of ammunition, four Chinese made pistols along with eight magazines and 72 rounds of ammunition, nine hand grenades, five satellite phones along with ancillary equipment, two mobile phones, two wireless sets and ₹10 lakh in fake currency from them.
“During interrogation, the accused disclosed that they burnt the drone which failed to fly back to Pakistan after dropping weapons near a border village in Tarn Taran. We immediately dispatched our team and the half-burnt drone was recovered from an abandoned field in Chabhal town,” a senior police official involved in the investigation said.
The drone has been sent to a forensic lab to ascertain how unmanned aerial vehicles are being used to smuggle drugs and weapons despite a radar system at the border, he said. Experts say a drone can carry two AK-47 rifles.
“The accused received arms and ammunition near Rajoke village, which is stone’s throw from the border fence, between August 23 and September 12,” said an official of the counter intelligence wing of Punjab Police which busted the module.
Punjab’s director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta, who was in Amritsar on Tuesday to attend a function, told reporters that the probe is in a preliminary stage. “The accused are being interrogated to ascertain where the arms and ammunition were to be used. We are collecting evidences,” he said.
Reports of drones dropping weapons into the Indian territory and returning undetected to Pakistan have already set the alarm bells ringing for the Border Security Force (BSF) and national security agencies.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has already urged the Union government to direct Indian Air Force (IAF) and BSF to launch measures to check any further threat from drones to Punjab.
Police chief Gupta said the module was backed by Pakistan-based chief of KZF Ranjeet Singh, alias Neeta, and his Germany-based associate Gurmeet Singh, alias Bagga, alias Doctor, who had re-organised the terror group to revive terrorism in Punjab.
Another official said that 20-year-old Akashdeep was in contact with KZF chief Neeta through social media apps. He used to send locations to Neeta for receiving contrabands. “Neeta was also smuggling fake Indian currency through drones. According to our investigation, Neeta was also in contact with Gurmeet,” he said.