Ludhiana blast victim was axed constable

Was found with heroin in 2019.

December 25, 2021 12:57 pm | Updated December 26, 2021 07:27 am IST - Chandigarh

Police inspect the site of a blast, in which one person was killed and many others were injured, inside the court complex in Ludhiana, Punjab, on December 23, 2021.

Police inspect the site of a blast, in which one person was killed and many others were injured, inside the court complex in Ludhiana, Punjab, on December 23, 2021.

The Punjab Police have identified the person killed in the Ludhiana court complex blast as Gangandeep Singh, a dismissed police official.

The investigation revealed that the deceased was carrying the explosive, Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Siddharth Chattopadhyaya said in a press conference here on Saturday.

Singh (31), a resident of Khanna, was recruited in the Punjab Police as constable and dismissed in August 2019 after 385 gm of heroin was recovered from his possession.

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“Preliminary investigations suggest that the accused Gagandeep [Singh] wanted to create fear and panic at the court premises,” he said.

Not ruling out a Pakistan-based pro-Khalistan connection to the act, the DGP said that the police were investigating the case from all angles. “Preliminary investigations suggest that the accused, Gagandeep, could have developed links with pro-Khalistan elements in the jail, who have used him to target the court premises with the intention to disturb the peace of the State,” he said.

“Within 24 hours, we could trace the main accused. During the course of post-mortem, the police were able to identify the deceased from his tattoo mark on the right arm. Separately, DNA samples of the body were also collected. The accused Gagandeep was working as a ‘munshi’ at the police station, Khanna, when he was arrested with heroin, and a NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act) case was registered against him. The case is under trial at the prosecution evidence stage,” said Mr. Chattopadhyaya.

After staying in jail for two years, Singh was recently let out on bail and his trial was underway.

“Most probably in the jail, he [Singh] came in touch with others [criminals] and his transition from narcotics to mafia to drugs, which has come to the fore, is a very dangerous combination. It’s going to be a major challenge for us. We have traced people associated with him. The investigation revealed that there are links within the jail, across Punjab and from abroad with Khalistani elements, terror outfits, mafias and narcotic smugglers,” the DGP said.

The DGP said that the material used for the explosion was yet to be ascertained as samples have been sent to the forensic lab. “A team of NSG (National Security Guard) and that of the State forensic experts were called for a post-blast investigation,” he said.

During the course of systematic clearing of debris at the blast site, the forensic team collected some vital clues like a damaged mobile set and burnt clothes on the body of the deceased besides other material evidence, the DGP added.

An FIR has already been registered under Sections 302, 307 and 124-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Explosive Substances Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

On Thursday, a high-intensity explosion at the district court complex in Ludhiana killed Gangandeep Singh and injured six others.

Political parties asserted that the incident was an attempt to create disturbances in Punjab ahead of Assembly elections in early 2022. The Ministry of Home Affairs too sought a report from the Punjab government on the blast.

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