NIA arrests two close aides of Khalistan Tiger Force’s ‘designated terrorist’ Arshdeep Singh Dhalla

They were nabbed after they arrived at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport from Manila in Philippines

May 19, 2023 07:17 pm | Updated 09:40 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested two wanted persons, who are close associates of Canada-based “individual designated terrorist” Arshdeep Singh Dhalla of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), after they arrived at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) from Manila in Philippines, where they had been living.

The accused, identified as Amritpal Singh aka Ammy and Amritk Singh, belong to Punjab. In an early morning operation, the NIA arrested them soon after their flight landed. Non-bailable arrest warrants had earlier been issued against them by a special Delhi court in a case related to the unlawful and violent activities of banned organisations in India.

“They also have several criminal cases registered against them in Punjab. The NIA had registered a suo motu case on August 20 last year under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),” said an official.

The two accused were produced before a special court that sent them to NIA custody till May 27.

Criminal conspiracy

The NIA probe has revealed that the accused had entered into a criminal conspiracy to raise funds for the KTF and also smuggle arms, ammunition and explosives for it from Pakistan. They had been working for Arshdeep Singh Dhalla to promote violent criminal activities of the KTF in India.

“In association with another notorious wanted accused, Manpreet Singh alias Peeta, they had been involved in smuggling weapons from Pakistan and recruitment of youth to carry out acts of violence and terror in the country at the behest of the KTF. They were also part of an extortion racket for raising funds for the banned outfit,” said the agency in a statement.

The accused used to identify extortion targets, including businessmen, and then threaten them into paying up huge amounts. In case the identified targets refused, their homes and other premises would be fired at by the accused’s India-based associates.

“The arrests were part of the NIA’s continuous crackdown on individual terrorists and terrorist outfits engaged in a criminal conspiracy to smuggle terrorist hardware, such as arms, ammunition, explosives, etc., and raise funds for carrying out terrorist acts on the Indian soil,” the agency said.

Arshdeep Singh Dhalla was declared a terrorist under the UAPA in January this year through a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. He has been accused of various offences, including targeted killings, attempted murder and extortion for raising terror funds. In December 2022, his four alleged associates were arrested in Punjab. They also operated from Philippines.

According to the security agencies, he ran terror modules on behalf of KTF chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar, another “designated terrorist” who is also in Canada and carries a reward of ₹10 lakh declared by the NIA in July 2022.

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