National Investigation Agency files cases against 15 for killing pastor, RSS leader

UK national Jagtar Singh Johal was involved in the funding of the conspiracy, says NIA

 

Jagtar Johal in custody in Punjab.

New Delhi, May 14 (PTI): The National Investigation Agency on Monday filed two charge sheets against 15 people, including a few Khalistani terrorists, for killing a pastor and an RSS leader in Ludhiana last year.

In its charge sheets, filed in a special court in Mohali, the probe agency said the conspiracy to kill these two persons had its footprints in several countries including, Pakistan, Australia, France, Italy, the UK and the UAE.

It has named Harmeet Singh, Gurjinder Singh, Gursharanbir Singh, Gurjant Singh Dhillon — who are suspected to be in Pakistan, Italy, the UK and Australia, respectively — in the charge sheets filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Arms Act, 1959.

Hardeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Dharminder Singh, Anil Kumar, Jagtar Singh Johal, Amaninder Singh, Manpreet Singh, Ravipal Singh, Pahad Singh, and Malook Tomar have also been named in the charge sheets.

The NIA had registered two cases in connection with the killings of pastor Sultan Masih and Amit Sharma, who was working for the Rashtryiya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Masih belonged to the Christian community and was engaged in social welfare activities in Ludhiana. He was shot dead outside the Temple of God Church, Ludhiana, on July 15, 2017.

Sharma was the president of the Ludhiana unit of Sri Hindu Thakt. He was shot dead on January 14, 2017, on the roadside near Durga Mata Mandir, Ludhiana, while he was attending a phone call.

“During investigation it was found that the killings of Amit Sharma and pastor Sultan Masih were part of trans-national conspiracy hatched by the senior leadership of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF),” the NIA said in a statement.

Eight “targeted killings / attempted killings” were executed as part of this conspiracy between January 2016 and October 2017 in Punjab, it said.

All the persons targeted belonged to certain specific communities and organization, the NIA said.

The objective of the conspiracy was to destabilize the law and order situation in Punjab and to revive the fledgling terrorism in the state, the probe agency said.

“As part of the conspiracy, large amounts of funds were supplied through Italy, Australia and the UK to the perpetrators of the killings / attempted killings, viz. Hardeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh. These funds were used by them to purchase weapons for executing the killings and other logistics,” it said.

The conspiracy included recruitment and training of Hardeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh in Italy, Dubai and the UAE.

Hardeep Singh is a permanent resident of Italy while Ramandeep Singh belongs to Ludhiana.

Both the persons were trained by Gursharanbir Singh, a UK national, the NIA said.

Another UK national, Jagtar Singh Johal, who has been arrested in the case was involved in the funding of the conspiracy.

“Day to day co-ordination of the conspiracy was done by Pakistan-based Harmeet Singh. The charge-sheet is based on the evidence collected from oral, documentary, material and electronic sources. Besides, evidence have been sought from several other countries,” the agency said.

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