Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered high alert in the state following the arrest of four more members of an ISI-backed terrorist module involved in a bid to blow up an Oil Tanker with an IED tiffin bomb last month, making it the fourth case of a Pakistani terror module being busted in the state in the past 40 days.
Two Pak-based terrorists, including a Pakistani Intelligence Officer, have also been identified and nominated in the case (FIR no.260 dated 11.8.2021, PS Ajnala), in which one person was arrested earlier, DGP Dinkar Gupta disclosed on Wednesday.
Taking a serious note of the increased attempts by terror groups to disturb the state’s peace, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the police to be on high alert, particularly in view of schools and educational institutions reopening, as well as the festival season and the Assembly polls ahead.
The Chief Minister has asked the DGP to ensure high level of security arrangements to be put in place, especially in busy places, such as markets etc, as well as at sensitive installations across the state.
Giving details of the arrests, the DGP identified Pak-based ISYF Chief Lakhbir Singh and Qasim, a resident of Pakistan, and Lakhbir Singh Rode @ Baba, a native of village Rode, PS Samalsar, Moga district, who is currently based in Pakistan, as being behind the terror module. Those arrested yesterday have been identified as Rubal Singh, r/o Village Bhakha Tara Singh, , Vicky Bhutti, r/o Ballharwal, Malkeet Singh, r/o Ugar Aulakh, and Gurpreet Singh @ Gopi r/o Uggar Aulakh. While Rubal, also wanted in a murder case of September 1, 2021, was picked up from Ambala around 5 pm yesterday, the other three were nabbed from their villages in Ajnala, Amritsar. Their fifth accomplice, Gurmukh Brar, was arrested earlier by Kapurthala Police, on 20th August, 2021.
The DGP said the Pakistani intelligence officer, identified as Qasim, and International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) Chief Rode had promised to transfer over Rs 2 lakh to the terrorist module for carrying out the blast. Investigations into the financial aspects are also being carried Oil Tanker out to unravel the money trail, he added. Rubal and Vicky Bhutti were in touch with Qasim, who was working in close collaboration with Rode. Rode and Qasim had reportedly tasked the 4 members of a terrorist module to blast an Oil Tanker for causing maximum damage to people and property.
The terror attempt was made on 8th August, 2021, when, at about 11:30 pm, the Ajnala police received information that an Oil Tanker (PB-02 CR 5926) parked at Sharma Filling Station Ajnala, located on the Amritsar-Ajnala Road near village Bhakha Tara Singh, had caught fire. The fire was controlled by a Fire Brigade and FIR no.260 was registered at PS Ajnala on the statement of Ashwani Kumar Sharma, r/o Ajnala.
Analysis of the CCTV footage at the filling station showed that four unknown persons had come near the Petrol Pump at about 11 pm and had stayed there for a few minutes, before going towards Amritsar side. The suspects returned at about 11:19 pm and placed some suspicious material on the fuel tank of the Oil Tanker before fleeing. Then, at about 11:29 pm, two of the suspects again returned, and within a minute, there was an explosion and the fire.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that Gurmukh had placed the tiffin IED at Hambowal on Jalandhar-Amritsar highway, from where, on 6th August, 2021, Vicky, Malkeet and Gurpreet Singh picked it up on the directions of Rode and Qasim. The trio hid the bomb near a canal in the Rajasansi area. A pen-drive was attached with the Tiffin box, which contained an Instruction Manual in the shape of the video with detailed steps on how to operate the Tiffin Bomb IED. After retrieval of the Tiffin Bomb IED, Vicky and Rubal were tasked by Rode to place the Tiffin Bomb on an Oil tanker to create a big explosion and cause maximum damage.
On 8th August, 2021, these terrorist operatives carried out recce of Sharma Filling Station during the day and placed the IED at about 11:00 pm, with the timer of the Tiffin Bomb IED set to 8 minutes. The blast took place at about 11:30 pm, leading to the fire in the tank of the Oil Tanker.
All the five arrested operatives, alongwith Rode and Qasim, have been booked in FIR no. 260 dated 11-8-2021 registered under section U/S 436,427 IPC, 13, 16, 18, 18 B, 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 and Section 3, 4, 5 of Explosive Substances (Amendment) Act 2001.
As mentioned earlier, this is the fourth major Pak-backed terror module busted by Punjab Police since August.
On 8.08.2021, Amritsar (Rural) Police had recovered a sophisticated Tiffin bomb IED from village Daleke, PS Lopoke. The Tiffin bomb IED contained about 2-3 kg RDX and had 3 different trigger mechanisms, including switch, magnetic and spring for operational flexibility.
Around the 15th of August, the police had arrested two militants, followed by the recovery of a cache of weapons, hand grenades etc.
Another terror module was busted on 20.08.2021, when Kapurthala police recovered one Tiffin bomb IED besides 5 hand grenades, 1 box of detonators, 2 tubes suspected to contain RDX, one .30 bore Pistol, 4 Glock Pistol magazines and 1 high explosive wire from Gurmukh Singh Rode and Gagandeep Singh.
Recently, on 07.09.2021, Ferozepur Police arrested one Darvesh Singh r/o Ferozepur who disclosed that he had been in constant contact with Lakhbir Singh Rode and had collected consignments of weapons, Tiffin bomb IEDs, RDX and heroin, which had been dropped over drones from across the border in Ferozepur district. Darvesh Singh has been arrested in a criminal case registered at PS Mamdot u/s NDPS Act, Explosives Substances Act and UA (P) Act.