MOHALI: The NIA on Tuesday filed a charge sheet against eight terrorists of the outlawed Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) for their alleged involvement in killing Shaurya Chakra awardee Comrade Balwinder Singh Sandhu at the direction of their Pakistan-based handlers, an official said.
Sandhu, who fought terrorism in Punjab, was shot dead in October last year in Tarn Taran district.
The charge sheet, according to which Sandhu was killed by the KLF terrorists, was filed before a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mohali under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Arms Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Inderjit Singh of Tarn Taran; Sukhraj Singh, Sukhdeep Singh, Gurjit Singh and Sukhmeet Pal Singh of Gurdaspur; Ravinder Singh, Akashdeep Arora and Jagroop Singh of Ludhiana have been named in the charge sheet, the NIA official said.
The case relates to the killing of Sandhu at his residence-cum-school in Tarn Taran by two unidentified people.
The NIA investigation has revealed that he was executed with the intent to strike terror in the minds of the people of India and especially those opposed to the Khalistani ideology, the official said.
The transnational conspiracy in the crime was hatched by Pakistan-based self-styled chief of the KLF Lakhvir Singh Rode and top foreign-based KLF terrorists who provided arms/ammunition and funds to the accused, according to the NIA official.
Further, a well-oiled terrorist-narcotics-criminal nexus, wherein narcotic drugs along with weapons were smuggled by Pakistan-based entities from across the international border into Punjab for generation of funds for executing terrorist acts, has also been unearthed, the official said.
The NIA had earlier investigated eight similar incidents of targeted killings/attempted killings by the KLF between January 2016 and October 2017, wherein seven people belonging to specific communities were killed, the official said.
The foreign-based KLF leadership had recruited, financed and armed local gangster Sukhmeet Pal Singh and tasked him to execute the killings through his associates, the NIA official said.
After the reported killing of Harmeet Singh, a Pakistan-based operational chief of the KLF in Pakistan in January 2020, Sukh Bikhariwal was directed by Lakhvir Singh Rode and other KLF operatives through encrypted communication platforms to kill Sandhu, according to the NIA official.
The reconnaissance was carried by charge-sheeted accused Inderjeet Singh.
Sharp shooters Gurjit Singh and Sukhdeep Singh were recruited for killing Sandhu, the official said.
The other charge-sheeted accused are associates of Sukh Bikhariwal, who were instrumental in organising logistics and shelter to the shooters, the NIA official said, adding further investigation against foreign-based Khalistani entities, including Lakhvir Singh Rode and others continues.