More power for Jagtar Singh, say Babbar Khalsa insiders

Devesh K. Pandey

NEW DELHI: If intelligence inputs on the movement of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) militants are to be believed, fugitive Jagtar Singh Tara who had escaped from the high-security Burail Jail in Punjab in 2004 and managed to cross over to Pakistan has moved up the ladder in the hierarchy of the outfit and is now supervising operations from there.

Escaped to Pakistan

After Hawara’s arrest by the Delhi police following the twin blasts in cinema halls here in 2005, Paramjeet Singh Bheora was made the head of BKI operations in India. He also landed in the net of the Special Cell of the Delhi police in March 2006. However, Tara escaped to Pakistan and met BKI chief Wadhawa Singh.

It is learnt that an ailing Wadhawa Singh is finding it difficult to manage the operations and so the police suspect that Tara’s role has become more important in the outfit.

So much so that Baljeet Singh, who was heading the module recently smashed by the Special Cell of the Delhi police with the arrest of four men including him, was in direct contact with Tara apart from Germany-based Satnam Singh, son-in-law of Wadhawa Singh. Baljeet was also in touch with Cheema, a United States-based BKI conduit who is allegedly instrumental in raising funds for the outfit, the police said.

During interrogation, Baljeet allegedly disclosed that at the instance of his handlers he had initiated about a dozen young men to join the outfit. Some of them were involved in the conspiracy hatched to target religious leaders Baba Ram Rahim, Baba Pyara Singh Paniharewala, Ajit Singh and Ashutosh Maharaj of Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan, the police said.

Funds from U.S.

According to the police, the module received over Rs.17 lakh through hawala channels from the U.S. and Germany. The alleged militants had also received Rs.70,000 in the form of a demand draft, the police said.

Initially they had plans to target Baba Ram Rahim, but then they decided to eliminate Baba Pyara Singh on January 5 and also carried out a dry run by smuggling in weapons concealed in a milk container. However, they were arrested. Baljeet had allegedly been training his accomplices in the handling of weapons in the fields of remote villages in Punjab.