Amid the escalating row over the separatist Khalistan Tiger Force commander Hardeep Singh Nijjar killing at Surrey, British Columbia in June, another gangland killing of Sukhdool Singh alias Sukha Duneke in Winnipeg on Thursday has put the Indian security establishment on high alert.
Intelligence agencies have warned of violent retaliation by sleeper cells active in Mannar, Nanded, Navi Mumbai and Thane region of Maharashtra during the festive season backed by Pakistan based proscribed terror group Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Harvinder Singh Rinda.
Security agencies led by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Maharashtra Anti Terrorist Squad ( ATS), Intelligence Bureau ( IB) and local police are having sleepless nights to track a cache of RDX explosives smuggled last year into India from Taran Taran, Punjab by Rinda.
“The explosives along with narcotics and cash were dropped by drones from the Pakistan side of the Punjab border and smuggled to Nanded by associates of Rinda last March,” confirmed a senior NIA officer.
The interrogation of arrested couriers Gurpreet, Amandeep and Bhupinder transporting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and weapons by Karnal police last May had led NIA on the trial of RDX consignment to Nanded, Maharashtra and Adilabad, Telangana.
Reward of ₹10 lakh for information
NIA had on Wednesday announced a reward of ₹10 lakh each for information leading to the arrest of designated terrorist Harwinder Singh Sandhu alias Rinda and Lakhbir Singh Sandhu alias Landa linked to the banned terror outfit BKI while cash reward of ₹5 lakh each declared on their three associates Parminder Singh Kaira from Ferozpur; Satnam Singh and Yadvinder Singh from Tarn Taran in Punjab.
“He is the mastermind of the 2022 RPG attack on Punjab Police Intelligence Headquarters and Sarhali Police station attacks. He controls the arms and drugs drops using drones in the border districts of Taran Taran and Pathankot for further distribution in India,” alleged a senior intelligence officer. According to the Maharashtra ATS, Rinda, 35 was a gangster from Taran Taran, Punjab and had shifted base to Nanded in childhood and killed a relative over a family dispute at the age of 18 with a meteoric rise in crime marked with brutality and violence.
He fled India via Nepal to Pakistan on a fake passport in 2020 and was sheltered by Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for gun and narco trafficking on the Indo Pak border.