The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday, January 16,2024, filed a chargesheet against five persons, including “designated individual terrorist” Lakhbir Singh Rode, in a case related to cross-border smuggling of arms into Punjab via drones.
Among those arraigned are accused Ranjot, Taranjot Singh alias Tanna, and Gurjit Singh of Gurdaspur in Punjab, besides Rehmat Ali, an alleged Pakistan-based smuggler.
The case pertains to the seizure of five Glock pistols, 10 magazines and live cartridges from a cremation ground in Bagtana Boharwala village of Batala’s Dera Baba Nanak, located in the border area of Punjab, on March 24, 2023.
The NIA probe revealed that there was a link between the members of the proscribed terrorist outfit, Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), and some persons based in Pakistan. “Along with the accused charge-sheeted today, the NIA had identified one Malkit Singh alias Pistol also as involved in the intricate network of arms smuggling from across the border. Malkit was earlier charge-sheeted in the case on November 11, 2023,” the agency said.
‘For funding banned outfits’
Malkit, Tanna, and Gurjit were allegedly in direct touch with Rehmat Ali, Rode and Ranjot. “…the smuggled arms were meant for use in targeted killings of persons from other faiths and for extortion to raise funds for the KLF/ISYF [International Sikh Youth Federation]. The entire conspiracy was also aimed at creating a stir in the media with the ultimate aim to create an atmosphere of fear and terror in India,” the NIA said.
Rode, who was linked to the KLF and was the chief of ISYF, as reported in the media, died in Pakistan in December 2023. Both the outfits have been banned by the Government of India for their involvement in a series of heinous crimes, including killings, bombings and various other terror activities, the agency further said.