Punjab Police identifies Ludhiana blast suspect

| | Chandigarh
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Punjab Police identifies Ludhiana blast suspect

Sunday, 26 December 2021 | PNS | Chandigarh

Man, a sacked cop, had links with Khalistanis, terror outfits in Pakistan

Punjab Police on Saturday said it has cracked the Ludhiana Court bomb blast case after zeroing in on the identity of the deceased Gagandeep Singh (31) of Khanna, who was recruited in Punjab Police as constable and dismissed in August 2019 after 385 gm of heroin was recovered from his possession.

Addressing a news conference, Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya said the former State police Head Constable who was killed in the Ludhiana district court blast had links with Khalistani elements and terror outfits, and some Pakistan-based entities could be behind the incident.  He said Gagandeep, who was dismissed from service in 2019, had gone to the washroom to assemble the bomb and plant it somewhere. He was alone in the washroom when the bomb went off.

Gagandeep was posted as a "munshi" at a police station in Khanna, his native city, and was sacked in connection with a drug-related case, Chattopadhyaya said.

He was arrested by the anti-drug special task force for carrying 385 grams of heroin and was booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in 2019. He spent two years in jail and was currently out on bail. The next hearing in the case was scheduled for December 24, a day after the blast, the officer said.

The dismissed constable was killed and six others were injured in the blast that occurred in the court complex on Thursday. The Punjab Government had declared a high alert in the State after the incident.

During his time in jail, Ganadeep probably came in contact with some bad elements, the police said.  Citing the initial probe, Chattopadhyaya said the killed constable had links with Khalistani elements, both within Punjab and abroad, terror outfits and mafia groups as well as narcotic smugglers.  He said further details will be disclosed later.

To a question about Pakistan's involvement in the blast, the DGP said the police have ''full suspicion'' but he could not say so conclusively.  The leads gathered so far indicate that someone sitting and operating in Pakistan could be behind it, he added.

 

Asked if Pakistan-based pro-Khalistani organizations could have had a role in the blast, the DGP said there were indications of links to Khalistani elements and narco-terrorism.  Gagandeep was facing a narcotics case and his link with the mafia was also established, he said.

The DGP said the explosive used in the blast was the kind that only terrorists have and it might have come from across the border.  He said the Ludhiana court blast was the biggest example of the ''dangerous cocktail'' of terrorism, organized crime, mafia and narcotics.

Asked if RDX was used in the bomb, Chattopadhyaya said the material has been sent for examination and the type of explosive used will be known after the report comes. ''I cannot say conclusively what the (explosive) material was,'' he said, adding that it was unlikely to be RDX.

Replying to another question, the DGP said Gagandeep was technically sound when he was serving in the police as he was very good with computers and technical material.

Ruling out the human bomb angle, Chattopadhyaya said, ''It appears that he went there (washroom) to connect some wires and... to place it (the bomb) somewhere. It was not in the concept of a human bomb.''

''The posture in which he was sitting (showed that) he did not go to the washroom to use it. He was using the washroom to assemble it (the bomb). He was alone there,'' the DGP said.  The DGP praised the police and other investigative agencies for identifying the man within 24 hours of the incident.

The DGP said that preliminary investigations suggest that accused Gagandeep wanted to create fear and panic at the court premises.  During the course of systematic clearing of debris at the blast site, the forensic team collected some vital clues like damaged mobile set and burnt clothes on the body of the deceased besides other material evidence, the DGP added.

According to the accused Gagandeep's wife Jaspreet Kaur, Gagandeep had left home at about 9.30 a. on the day of the blast and his mobile was switched off ever since. She recognised the tattoo mark on the arm of Gagandeep and the apparel worn by him.

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