NIA declares ₹10 lakh reward for information on terrorists linked to Babbar Khalsa International

Designated terrorist Harwinder Singh Sandhu alias Rinda and Lakhbir Singh Sandhu alias Landa are allegedly linked to the banned outfit BKI

Updated - September 21, 2023 11:39 am IST

Published - September 20, 2023 10:01 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The NIA on September 20, 2023 published photographs of 30 wanted persons. File 

The NIA on September 20, 2023 published photographs of 30 wanted persons. File  | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Stepping up its crackdown on pro-Khalistan terrorists, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday announced a reward of ₹10 lakh each for information leading to the arrest of designated terrorist Harwinder Singh Sandhu alias Rinda and Lakhbir Singh Sandhu alias Landa, who are allegedly linked to the banned outfit Babbar Khalsa International (BKI).

A cash reward of ₹5 lakh each has also been declared on their three associates named Parminder Singh Kaira from Ferozpur; Satnam Singh and Yadvinder Singh from Tarn Taran in Punjab. All the five accused are wanted by the agency in a case registered this year to probe the BKI’s activities.

Originally from Tarn Taran, former “gangster” Rinda is a Pakistan-based BKI terrorist. He earlier lived in Nanded (Maharashtra) and had fled to Pakistan illegally in 2018-19. The NIA has alleged his role in smuggling of arms, ammunition, explosives, and drugs into the Indian territory from Pakistan, recruiting operatives for the BKI, masterminding murders, and raising funds for the outfit through extortion.

In November last year, some media reports claimed that Rinda had died in a Lahore military hospital due to suspected drug overdose. However, the agencies later found that he was alive. The NIA had earlier declared a ₹10-lakh reward on him in another case.

Terrorist activities

Rinda has allegedly been involved in several terrorist activities, including a Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) attack on the Punjab police intelligence headquarters (Mohali) in May 2022. He was declared an “individual terrorist” through a Ministry of Home Affairs’ notification in February this year.

Earlier this month, a special NIA court had forfeited the seized properties linked to four associates of Rinda. The action was taken in a case in which the Haryana police had, on May 5 last year, seized three improvised explosive devices, one pistol with two magazines, 31 rounds of ammunition and ₹1.30 lakh in cash from accused Gurpreet Singh, Amandeep Singh, Parminder Singh, and Bhupinder Singh. They were going to deliver the consignment to a person in Adilabad, Telangana.

The NIA later took over the probe and found that the four accused had received several consignments of arms, ammunition, explosives, and narcotics, sent via drones from Pakistan by Rinda.

Now a close aide of Rinda, Landa belongs to Tarn Taran’s Harike Pattan village. As alleged, he too was initially into criminal and gangster-related activities. In 2017, he left for Canada and has been operating from there. In February, the NIA had announced a reward of ₹15 lakh on him in connection with the Mohali case.

He is the main accused in multiple terror cases, including the RPG attack on the Punjab police intelligence headquarters and another such attack on the Sarhali police station in Tarn Taran in December 2022. He was also the alleged mastermind of a conspiracy to kill Punjab police sub-inspector Dilbagh Singh in August last year.

In August, an NIA court had ordered confiscation of a property linked to Landa in Tarn Taran’s Kirian village. The same month, in a case registered about a year ago, six gangster-turned-terrorists based out of Canada and Pakistan were declared proclaimed offenders. They included Canada-based Landa, Arshdeep Singh alias Arsh Dala, and Ramandeep Singh alias Raman Judge; and Pakistan-based Rinda, Lakhbir Singh Rode and Wadhawa Singh Babbar.

On July 22, the NIA had chargesheeted Landa, Rinda and seven others linked to the BKI and the Khalistan Tiger Force, whose chief was gunned down by unidentified assailants in the parking lot of a gurdwara in Canada’s Surre on June 18.

In another move, the NIA on Wednesday published the photographs of 30 wanted persons through its official X (formerly Twitter) post. Many of them are based, or have links, in Canada.

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