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ISI terror module busted in Patiala; arrested man ‘planned attack during festive season’

Punjab Police arrested Shabnamdeep Singh, a part of ISI terror module, and recovered a hand grenade, a pistol, letter pads belonging to a banned terror organisation and a motorcycle from him.

punjab Updated: Nov 02, 2018 10:32 IST
Navrajdeep Singh
Navrajdeep Singh
Hindustan Times, Patiala
ISI module busted,shabnamdeep singh,punjab police
The arrested man, Shabnamdeep Singh, is associated with the Khalistan Gadar Force, a terrorist organisation, said police. (HT File Photo)

A Pakistan-Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) terror module was busted with the arrest of Shabnamdeep Singh, 24, of Samana sub-division, from Lahori Gate in Patiala on Thursday morning, Punjab police said.

A hand grenade, a pistol, letter pads belonging to a banned terror organisation and a motorcycle have been recovered from him.

“Shabnamdeep planned to attack police stations and crowded places in the ongoing festive season,” DGP Suresh Arora said, in a release. He has been sent to police custody till November 5. “He is associated with the Khalistan Gadar Force, a terrorist organisation, and was also running operations for the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ),” said Patiala SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu.

“During interrogation, the accused confessed that he planned to target Patiala’s Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT) and nearby locations,” the SSP added. He added that a team under DSP (detective) Sukhminder Singh Chauhan and Samana Counter-Intelligence Agency (CIA) in-charge, Vijay Kumar, had been formed to carry out the arrest.

DGP Arora added, “With this arrest, police have blown up the cover over the ISI’s nexus with Gurpatwant Singh Pannu’s SFJ, which is running the Sikh Referendum-2020 campaign. With ISI backing, SFJ had launched a conspiracy to spread mayhem in the state. Shabnamdeep, alias Maninder Lahoria, alias Billa, had been out on bail for a petty crime in Rajasthan.”

“Javed Khan Wazir, who we suspect is a Pakistan intelligence officer, contacted Shabnamdeep from Pakistan in July. He was also introduced to a Pakistani Sikh named Gopal Singh Chawla, former general secretary of the Pakistani Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Khan had tasked Shabnamdeep with targeted killings and promised him Rs 10 lakh for each such killing,” Arora added.

“In October, the Pakistan-based handler of Shabnamdeep asked him to buy a new phone and install a new messaging application. On October 24, his operatives delivered him a sophisticated pistol and grenade,” the DGP continued.

‘Set several liquor vends on fire’

The DGP said SFJ operative Nihal and other Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) incited him to indulge in arson of liquor vends. “Shabnamdeep and his accomplices set liquor vends and shacks, along with a house, on fire last month. The videos were sent to his handlers. He purchased a motorcycle and a new mobile phone with funds transferred to him by Nihal,” a police source added.

Police sources added Shabnamdeep was in contact with Sukhraj Singh of Nagoke village in Tarn Taran, who was also involved in the burning of liquor vends and the propagation of Referendum 2020. “Sukhraj contacted Shabnamdeep for delivery of weapons to carry out targeted killings. Recently, Amritsar police had arrested Sukhraj,” the state police chief added.

Javed Khan asked Shabnamdeep to get pads printed with the letterhead of the Khalistan Gadar Force and use these to issue press statements, taking responsibility for acts of terror and arson. Shabnamdeep and his handlers also created a Facebook page of this terrorist organisation. Police have found that Shabnamdeep was also operating a Facebook account under the pseudo name of Lahoria Jatt Gill, with profile picture of slain terrorist Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.

First Published: Nov 02, 2018 10:25 IST