The Punjab Police on Monday ruled out any terror or radical angle in the high-profile killing of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu even as their Delhi counterparts linked Sandhu’s two alleged shooters with a terror module allegedly operated by Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI after the duo’s arrest in the national capital.
Sandhu, who was conferred with the bravery award for fighting terrorism in Punjab, was gunned down by two motorcycle-borne assailants at his house in Bhikhiwind village of Tarn Taran district on October 16.
The alleged shooters — Gurjeet Singh, alias Bha and Sukhdeep Singh of Gurdaspur district — were arrested on Monday along with Kashmir residents Shabbir Ahmed, Ayub Pathan and Riyaz from Shakarpur area of the national capital, the Delhi Police claimed.
Gurjeet and Sukhdeep killed Sandhu at the behest of notorious gangster Sukhmeet Singh, alias Sukh Bhikhariwal, who is also accused of killing an aide of a Hindu leader in Gurdaspur, the Punjab Police had said.
The Delhi cops on Monday said Pakistan is using Punjab-based gangsters for targeted killings as many are inclined towards the Khalistan movement.
A senior Punjab Police official investigating Sandhu’s killing, said, “We have thoroughly investigated the case. So far, we have not found any evidence to prove that it was a case of terrorism. We believe that there is no terror or radical angle to it.”
“Our probe so far has not found any Kashmir link in the case. We don’t know about the theory of Delhi Police. We have checked all the activities of the pro-Khalistani elements but nothing was found. Gurjeet is a drug addict. It is also possible that he had gone to the Kashmiri men for getting drugs. But, everything will become clear once we get details from the Delhi police,” he added.
The Tarn Taran police had last month claimed to have solved the killing with the arrest of 11 persons, including jailed gangsters Ravinder Singh, alias Gian and Sukhdeep Singh, alias Sukh. The police had said Gian and Sukh hatched the conspiracy to kill Sandhu from the Patiala and Ferozepur jails. Gian and Sukh are close associates of Bhikariwal, who had given them the task, according to the police. Gian is a prime conspirator of the Nabha jailbreak episode.
Tarn Taran senior superintendent of police (SSP) Dhruman H Nimbale said they were establishing contact with the Delhi Police for the further investigation into Sandhu’s murder. Gurjeet and Sukhdeep will be brought on production warrant soon, he said.
Another senior police official said they have traced Bhikariwal’s location to Dubai. Their teams were working to bring him back to India, he said. The Delhi cops claimed on Monday that the gangster has links with the ISI.
All-India Anti-Terrorist Front chairman Maninderjeet Bitta, said, “Had the police not withdrawn Sandhu’s security cover, his life could have been saved. A case of murder should be registered against those officers who ordered to withdraw his security. The Delhi’s special cell has made it clear that it was an act of terrorism.”
The hearing of the petition filed by Sandhu’s family in the Punjab and Haryana High court seeking CBI probe in the case is schedule on Tuesday. Sandhu’s wife Jagdish Kaur, also a Shaurya Chakra awardee, has also sought a security cover of paramilitary force for her family members.