Khalistani terrorist arrested in Punjab; was planning targeted killings

sikh-khalistan-protest-afp Representational image | AFP

Punjab's Organized Crime Control Unit (OCCU) nabbed pro-Khalistan terrorist and one of the most wanted gangsters, Tejinder Singh alias Teja, from Mohali while he was, allegedly, trying to mobilise funds for the Khalistan movement. Teja, according to the police, had recently executed a dacoity in Ludhiana, where he looted 2kg gold.

He has, reportedly, confessed that he was arranging money for a spate of targeted killings as part of the Khalistan agenda, and to disrupt the ongoing Operation Blue Star anniversary week in Punjab. Teja has over 25 criminal cases against him, including murder, attempt to murder, car-jacking, and dacoity. He had started out as a gangster but was soon radicalised. He planned the targeted killings at the instance of some hardcore terrorists he met during his stints in various prisons. Police say he has the support of banned Khalistani outfits.

According to state DGP Dinkar Gupta, a set of Punjab Police uniform, along with an ID card of Seema Suraksha Bal (SSB), a paramilitary force of MHA, were seized from Teja.

“He (Teja) was a big threat to state's security and peace and had dangerous plans in the making,” Gupta said. “He wanted to use the uniform and card to gain access to restricted areas for commission of various kinds of crimes, including terrorist actions. We have also recovered a Chinese 30 caliber pistol, 10 cartridges and one Chevrolet Optra car. Investigations have revealed that he had also prepared other fake ID cards such as Aadhar card, driving licence from Noida, in order to evade arrest. While being on the run, he stayed at different locations in Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.”

The police got leads from his acquaintance, Tirath Singh, who was arrested on May 30 from Meerut, UP, in a joint-operation of the UP and Punjab police under the UAPA. The police had then recovered posters of Khalistan loyalist Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

The police have now sought remand of Teja to get leads on other members of his group who may be busy executing his deadly plans.

“He has so far revealed that he, along with his close associate Rachpal Singh, were planning to loot a bank cash van used to transport currency from main branches of SBI to ATMs in Maur and Talwandi Sabo. They had also checked out the route and conducted a recce for the same. The money was meant for fresh consignment of automatic weapons and drugs from across the border,” revealed a senior investigator.

A criminal case has been registered against Teja and his associates at State Special Operation Cell (SSOC) Mohali under UAPA and other relevant sections of law. Further investigations are in progress.

Meanwhile, speaking to THE WEEK, Gupta said that various anti-national elements and organisations and cross-border smuggling syndicates had gotten hyperactive during the COVID-19 pandemic. “They tried to cash in on the COVID crisis and we witnessed increased activity. The lockdown, however, was also a blessing in disguise for police as they blew their covers owing to desperation and with negligible crime we had all time and resources to concentrate and uproot them,” Gupta said.