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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

Punjab govt decides to hand over 7 targeted killing cases to NIA

The move to transfer the cases came after an NIA team, led by its director, held discussions with officials of Punjab police on Monday.

punjab Updated: Nov 30, 2017 22:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters building in New Delhi
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters building in New Delhi(HT File)

In view of the possible national and international ramifications of the conspiracy behind the targeted killings in the state, the Punjab government on Thursday decided to hand over the investigations of all seven cases to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

An official spokesperson said the state government decided to transfer the cases to NIA under Section 6 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, since the modus operandi in all the cases was the same. It was found that the interstate as well as “international perpetrators/handlers/actors and terrorist/militant angle involved” in the criminal conspiracy, to disturb peace and communal harmony in the border state of Punjab by selectively targeting leaders of certain groups, were the same.

Between January 2016 and October 2017, the leaders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Shiv Sena and Dera Sacha Sauda were killed in the state in a targeted manner. While the state government handed over investigation into the murder of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain in Ludhiana sometime ago, it has now also proposed that the case of the killing of Jagdish Gagneja, state vice-president of the RSS, which was being probed by CBI, be also transferred to NIA. Other cases to be handed over to NIA include January 2016 firing on RSS Shakha at Kidwai Nagar and February 2016 firing on Amit Arora, a local Hindu leader, in Ludhiana.

The list also includes April 2016 Khanna killing of Durga Das Gupta, president, labour service wing, Shiv Sena, Punjab; January 2017 killing of Amit Sharma, zila pracharak Hindu Takht in Ludhiana; February 2017 killing of Dera Sacha Sauda followers Satpal Kumar and his son Ramesh Kumar in Khanna; and July 2017 Ludhiana murder of pastor Sultan Masih.

The move to transfer the cases came after an NIA team, led by its director YC Modi, held discussions with officials of Punjab Police on Monday, said the government spokesperson. Both teams felt that the central agency was better equipped to undertake further investigations into the cases. “With handlers, conspirators and financers in all these targeted killing cases operating from foreign soil, in countries such as UK, Canada, Italy etc, the investigations needed to be more broad-based, they both agreed,” said the government statement on the decision.

The state police has been directed by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to hand over all the material related to targeted killings to the NIA for further investigation into the cases, in which the police had recently arrested UK citizen Jagtar Singh Johal and some others. The spokesperson said the move was aimed at ensuring that foreign based networks conspiring against Punjab are dismantled and action taken against their handlers, both organisations and individuals, abroad.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 22:29 IST