Main shooter behind grenade attack on Punjab Police intelligence HQ arrested: NIA

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NEW DELHI: A terror operative who was the main shooter in the grenade attack on the Punjab Police intelligence headquarters in Mohali last year has been arrested from Uttar Pradesh, an official of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Wednesday.

Deepak Ranga, a resident of Surakpur in Jhajjar district of Haryana, was arrested from Gorakhpur Wednesday morning, a spokesperson of the federal anti-terror agency said.

The official said Deepak Ranga had been on the run since the rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack on the intelligence headquarters in Mohali in May last year.

“Ranga is a close associate of Canada-based gangster-turned-terrorist Lakhbir Singh Sandhu alias ‘Landa’ and Pakistan-based gangster-turned-terrorist Harvinder Singh Sandhu alias ‘Rinda’. Apart from his involvement in the May RPG attack, he has been involved in a number of other violent terrorist and criminal offences, including killings,” the spokesperson said.

The official said he has been actively receiving terror funds and logistical support from Rinda and Landa.

The NIA had registered the case suo motu on September 20 last year after it emerged that terrorist outfits and terror elements based abroad were operating in tandem with leaders and members of organised criminal gangs operating in northern states of the country to commit targeted killings and violent criminal acts.

“It had emerged that the terror-gangster-drug smuggler network was also engaged in smuggling terrorist hardware such as arms, ammunition, explosives, IEDs, etc. across border through a widespread inter-state network of gunrunners, illegal arms and ammunition manufacturers and suppliers and explosive traffickers,” the spokesperson said.

The NIA said since the registration of three criminal cases against the terror-gangster-drug smuggler networks, the agency has already arrested 19 leaders or members of various organised criminal gangs, two arms suppliers and a key financier connected with the network under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Canada-based Arsh Dalla has been designated as an “individual terrorist” by the Ministry of Home Affairs on January 9, the spokesperson said, adding further action to dismantle the terror-gangster-smuggler nexus and infrastructure would be intensified in the near future. (PTI)