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Chandigarh jail bomb case: NIA to probe after police find ‘Khalistan Action Force’ printouts, bombs wrapped in Pakistani newspaper from the site

On April 23, Chandigarh Police had discovered the explosive near the wall of the Model jail. The explosive was defused the next day by a National Security Guard (NSG) unit.

Days after a Khalistani terrorist link to the case pertaining to the Chandigarh jail bomb plot was established, the Chandigarh police handed over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Accordingly, the counter-terrorist task force of India has filed an FIR under Sections 13, 18 and 20 of the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substances act and will probe the case further.

A tiffin bomb was recovered nearby the wall of Burail jail on April 23.

Kuldeep Singh Chahal, senior superintendent of police, Chandigarh was quoted by HT as saying, “Investigations have pointed towards the involvement of SJF member Jaswinder Singh Multani. We are now in the process of handing over the investigation to NIA.”

“We have also added requisite sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to the FIR registered after the recovery of the bomb on April 23,” added Chahal.

According to reports, on April 24, a day after the purported incident, the Chandigarh police had registered an FIR under Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substance Act at the Sector-49 police station. Now, after the NIA took over the case, Sections 13, 18 and 20 of the UAPA have been added.

According to the FIR filed by the NIA, “On 23.04.2022 around 7.30 PM, Amanjot Singh, Insp along with QRT of Operations Cell, was patrolling, and when they reached the back wall of Burail Jail, they saw flames of fire in the bushes near the wall. The Patrolling team stopped immediately at the spot to check the flames and saw there was fire in the bushes and a suspicious tiffin looking like IED, an object looking like detonator and a black colour bag was lying near the tiffin. The fire was about to reach the tiffin and was extinguished. Accordingly, information was given to PS Sector 49, Chandigarh, resulting in registration of FIR No. 33 dated 24.04.2022.”

The FIR further read, “The Central Government has received information regarding registration of an FIR No 33 dated 24/04/2022 at PS Sector 49 UT Chandigarh… The Central Government is of the opinion that a Schedule offence under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, has been committed and having regard to the gravity of the offence, and its ramifications on National Security, it is required to be investigated by the National Investigation Agency in accordance with the National! Investigation Agency Act, 2008.”

Notably, the NIA took over the case after the Chandigarh police, probing the recovery of a bomb near Model Jail, Sector 51, in April this year established the involvement of Jaswinder Singh Multani, a prominent member of banned pro-Khalistan outfit Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) in the case.

Khalistani terrorist Jaswinder Singh Multani

Multani, 45, was also the architect of the 2021 Ludhiana court blast case and was caught in Germany in December last year. He is a close associate of SFJ founder Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, who is living in the United States. He is notorious for radicalising Sikh youth to participate in extremist activities. He is from Hoshiarpur, Punjab. Multani, along with his Pakistani associates, is believed to have been allegedly planning to target Delhi and Mumbai as well.

Last year, Punjab police arrested him for allegedly plotting to assassinate farmer activist Balbir Singh Rajewal in order to incite unrest. He was previously under investigation for terror-related acts in Punjab in 2021, and reportedly providing firearms, explosives, narcotics, pistols, and hand grenades through Pakistani operatives.

How Chandigarh police established links between the Chandigarh jail bomb plot and Multani

During the course of the investigation, the Chandigarh police lifted mobile phone dump data and analysed the CCTV cameras near the spots.

A senior official privy to the case said, “several suspicious numbers were short-listed and one of them was found switched off since the discovery of the bomb. Further analysis revealed that the number was in the name of JS Multani and was used to make an international call to Germany.”

According to sources, a review of the calls revealed that Multani offered to supply material for the bomb and that a second call was made after the bomb was planted.

“This was an attempt of separatist organisations to show their presence in the city,” shared a senior police official on conditions of anonymity.

Chandigarh jail bomb plot

While patrolling the area on April 23, a team from the Chandigarh Police’s operations department discovered the explosive after seeing smoke near the jail’s wall. It was hidden in a bag that also included a box, a detonator, and some burned wires. The explosive was defused the next day by a National Security Guard (NSG) unit.

An Urdu Pakistani newspaper was used to wrap the detonator. There was also a little polybag of nails in the bag, and some printouts with the words “Khalistan Action Force” scribbled on them. On April 28, another detonator and a cellphone were discovered during an area check.

Burail Jail in Chandigarh houses many notorious Khalistani terrorists

The Model Jail in Chandigarh holds several notorious Khalistani terrorists, including Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, members of the Khalistani outfit Babbar Khalsa International (BKI). They were convicted of assassinating former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh. Some others held guilty in the case, including Lakhwinder Singh Lakha, Shamsher Singh and Gurmeet Singh, are also imprisoned here.

Notably, Tara and Bheora, as well as Jagtar Singh Hawara, who is currently imprisoned in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, had escaped from the Chandigarh jail in January 2004 after excavating a 109-foot tunnel while the assassination case was still being tried.

Hawara was re-arrested in 2005 for his role in the Delhi twin blasts, while Bheora was re-arrested by the Delhi Police in 2006 while attempting to establish a base in Delhi.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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