Chandigarh: Punjab government on Friday said it has so far recovered two drones used in dropping weapons from across the border.
An official spokesman said one drone was recovered last month and another was seized in burnt condition three days ago from Jhabal town in Tarn Taran. However, an object, which was recovered earlier on Friday in Amritsar with the police claiming it to be a drone, has turned out to be a part of a submersible motor, officials said. The spokesperson said the police had stepped up its vigil at the border after the recovery of a crashed 'Hexacopter Drone' on August 13 from Mohawa village - just 1.5 km from the Indo-Pak border, in Amritsar.
The recovery followed an anonymous call received by Amritsar (Rural) police that a fan type object had been seen in the paddy/fodder fields of a farmer in Mohawa village. On examination, it was found that the model of the recovered drone was 'U10 KV100-U', and it had been designed and manufactured by T Motors, a Chinese company, the spokesman said. Four brick-sized batteries (model Tattu - made in China) were also found installed in the Hexacopter. The Airframe of the drone was found to be a make TAROT 680 PRO.
Inquires revealed that this kind of Hexacopter Drone (6 electric motors) has a payload capacity of 21 kg and it could have been assembled from parts, which are available commercially-off-the-shelf, the spokesman said. Further physical examination of the recovered drone, weighing about 20-25 kg, revealed that it had suffered minor damage to one of its ports and motor propellers, most probably from the impact of the crash landing. Parts of white nylon rope were also recovered from the drone.
Details of the drone were promptly shared with the central government for facilitating detailed technical investigations by concerned central agencies, the spokesman said. The state government expressed concern over the movement of large sized drones from across the Indo-Pak border to the Union Home Ministry. It was pointed out that acquisition of such capacity and skills by Jihadi and pro-Khalistani terrorist outfits in deployment of drones had serious implications for national security, especially for security of vital installations, security of public meetings/events and highly threatened protectees, the spokesman said.
The heightened vigil led the police to the busting of a terror module consisting of Akashdeep Singh, and his associates, including Baba Balwant Singh, Harbhahan Singh, and Balbir Singh @ Binda, on September 22. Subsequently, Shubhdeep Singh was also arrested for his alleged involvement in the handling of a large consignment of weapons, including hand-grenades, satellite phones, wireless sets and other communication devices, which were recovered from the arrested persons. Interrogation of the accused led to the recovery of the second, half burnt drone, three days back, the spokesman said.
Akashdeep revealed that two 9 mm pistols had been smuggled over the half burnt drone around the beginning of September. The drone had apparently crashed in the Indian territory before it could fly back to Pakistan after dropping arms near the Indo-Pak border, the spokesman said. The foreign handlers, Germany based Gurmeet Bagga of Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), and his associates based in Pakistan, including KZF chief Ranjeet Singh alias Neeta, who were handling the Akashdeep terror module, had informed Akashdeep and his associates about the crashing of this drone inside Indian territory.
They had also shared the coordinates of the crash landing site and further directed Akashdeep to go to the crash site and destroy the drone by burning lest the police came to know about the weapon deliveries over drones, the spokesman said. Accordingly, Akashdeep and his associates burnt the drone and also disposed of the steel frame of the drone in a drain, he added.
Five AK-47 rifles, 16 magazines and 472 rounds of ammunition, four Chinese-made 30 bore pistols, along with eight magazines and 72 rounds of ammunition; nine hand grenades, five satellite phones with their ancillary equipment, two mobile phones, two wireless sets and fake currency with the face value of Rs 10 lakh were recovered from them. Taking serious note of Pakistan using Chinese drones to airdrop weapons in Punjab, the Army and BSF on Thursday sounded an all-out alert along the entire Indo-Pak border and the LoC.