Raids on associates of designated terrorist Dala in Punjab and Haryana: NIA

New Delhi, Jun 6 (IANS): A day after a special court in Mohali declared Arshdeep Singh Dala a 'proclaimed offender' (PO) in a targeted killing conspiracy case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids on Tuesday at several premises connected to associates of the Canada-based 'individual designated terrorist' in Punjab and Haryana.

According to an official, the raids were carried out at ten locations linked to Dala's associates and his close aide, Manpreet Singh, also known as Peeta, who is currently residing in the Philippines.

"We filed a case regarding this matter in August 2022. Today's raids resulted in the seizure of several incriminating materials, including digital devices. So far, a total of six accused have been arrested in connection with the case," the NIA said.

The case pertains to the terrorist activities of proscribed organisations such as the Khalistan Liberation Force, Babbar Khalsa International, the International Sikh Youth Federation, and the Khalistan Tiger Force.

"The accused individuals were involved in the smuggling of terrorist hardware, including arms, ammunition, explosives, and IEDs, across international borders. These smuggled goods were intended for use by members of terrorist outfits and organized criminal gangs operating in various parts of the country, for carrying out acts of terrorism such as bomb explosions and targeted killings," the official said.

NIA investigations have revealed that Dala, along with his associates based in different countries, including Peeta, is continuously recruiting new cadres in India to carry out activities on behalf of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force. They are raising funds for the banned terrorist organisation through extortion and other means, as well as smuggling arms, ammunition, and explosives across the border.

Dala was declared a 'listed terrorist' under the UAPA in January this year, through a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and is accused of various offenses, including targeted killings, attempted murder, and extortion for the purpose of raising funds for terrorist activities.

"The raids were conducted a day after Dala was declared a PO in a case related to a conspiracy to kill a Hindu priest in Jalandhar, Punjab. Kamaldeep Sharma, a priest at a temple on the main road of Bharsinghpur village in Phillaur, was attacked on January 31, 2021. Dala played a key role in the case, which was planned by KTF's self-styled chief Hardeep Nijjar, a native of the priest's village. Nijjar, currently based in Canada, was also designated as an 'individual terrorist' by the MHA in July 2020," said the official.

The official said that Nijjar, who serves as the Head of Guru Nanak gurdwara in Surrey, Canada, has been actively involved in recruiting, training, financing, and operating pro-Khalistan terrorist modules to spread terror in India. Nijjar is known for giving inflammatory and hateful speeches through social media platforms. In another case, the NIA has also attached Nijjar's property in the same village.

"At the direction of Nijjar, who is also associated with the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), Dala recruited Kamaljeet Sharma and Ram Singh, the two assailants of the priest. Dala was also arranging weapons for the shooters and sent terror funds through various channels, apart from extorting funds from various business entities in Punjab. He was actively promoting the terror activities of the proscribed KTF, which is also involved in kidnapping and killing individuals of other faiths to spread fear and disharmony in Punjab," added the official.

The case of the priest's attack was initially registered at Phillaur Police Station and later taken over by the NIA on October 8, 2021. The NIA has filed two charge sheets in the case, and on July 1, 2022, a non-bailable warrant was issued against Dala by the NIA Special Court. Subsequently, on May 31, 2022, a Red Corner Notice (RCN) was issued by Interpol, following which the NIA Special Court initiated proceedings against him under Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and declared him a proclaimed offender after he failed to appear before the court.



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Title: Raids on associates of designated terrorist Dala in Punjab and Haryana: NIA

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