By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Probing the case of “pro-Khalistani” group unearthed in Maharashtra last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found its links to the European island nation of Cyprus.
The ultimate objective of the group, which was unearthed by Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in December last year, was to attempt to revive Sikh militancy to create a separate “Khalistan”, said NIA investigators.
The anti-terrorism agency, after a four-month-long probe, has learnt that the main conspirator of the group is Gurjeet Singh Nijjar, who hails from Amritsar district and presently residing in Cyprus. He is on the NIA’s wanted list.
Nijjar was operating the group with his accomplices from Cyprus through social media sites like Facebook, WhatsApp and IMO, reveals an NIA charge sheet filed in a special Mumbai court on Friday.
“This case relates to attempts for revival of Sikh militancy with the ultimate objective of creating a separate ‘Khalistan State’,” the agency informed the court while sumbitting the charge sheet.
The agency took over the case on January 10, almost a month after the Maharashtra ATS registered a case against the group after the arrest of Harpal Singh on December 2 last year.
A team from Mumbai’s Kalachowki police station, from where the investigation started, had also seized an illegal weapon along with five live cartridges from the possession of Harpal Singh whose questioning later helped them to arrest “wanted accused” Mohiuddin Siddiqui on December 24 last year.
The NIA has revealed in its charge sheet that Harpal Singh, Siddiqui and Nijjar have been making attempt to revive Sikh militancy and entered into a criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist acts for the formation of separate “Khalistan”, thereby threatened the security, integrity and sovereignty of India.
Harpal Singh is known in the group by his two other aliases as Raju and Happy. Similarly, Siddiqui also has two other aliases of Mohin Khan and Moin Khan.
The three accused, the NIA charge sheet said, used to post videos and images containing praises of militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and Jagtar Singh Hawara (a convicted accused in assassination of then Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh).
Images and videos of Operation Blue Star of 1984 and pro-Khalistani posts related to the Babbar Khalsa International were also being posted by the accused with sole intention to “motivate vulnerable Sikh youths” and others to join the Khalistan movement in India, the charge sheet said.
“In pursuance of the conspiracy, the three accused also arranged an illegal weapon and ammunition,” it said
During investigation, the NIA on April 24 also arrested Sunder Lal Parashar, resident of Rajouri Garden in west Delhi, on charges of supplying a country-made pistol to Siddiqui who further delivered it to Harpal Singh.
According to the NIA, it has recovered the pistol from the possession of Harpal Singh.
In its charge sheet, the NIA has named Harpal Singh, Siddiqui and Nijjar under charges of criminal conspiracy of Indian Penal Code, different sections of Arms Act, 1959; various sections of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951; and sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
However, the agency has framed Parashar under charges of criminal conspiracy of Indian Penal Code and different sections of Arms Act, 1959.
The agency also informed the court that its investigation in the case is still on.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])