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Key accused in Ludhiana court blast arrested, NIA says he smuggled IED device from Pakistan

According to NIA officials, the accused was associated with a pro-Khalistan group & had coordinated the delivery of explosive, used in the blast, with people from across the border.

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New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested the key accused in the Ludhiana court blast case when he landed in New Delhi from Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, ThePrint has learnt.

The accused, Harpreet Singh alias Happy Singh, was arrested from Indira Gandhi International Airport in the capital.

Happy, who belongs to Amritsar, carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh and had a lookout notice issued against him, NIA officials said.

One person had died and three others were injured in a “high-grade” blast inside a washroom of the district and sessions court complex in Ludhiana, Punjab, on 23 December last year.

During the probe, investigators received inputs about Happy’s involvement in smuggling the IED device, used in the blast, from across the border using a drone, sources said.

According to sources, the device was smuggled from Pakistan with the help of ISI operatives. Following this, he was named in the case as “wanted”.

“Besides this, it was also found that he is associated with International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), a pro-Khalistan, proscribed outfit, and had been planning terror strikes in India,” a source said

In a public notice issued this September, the investigating agency announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for any person who would provide reliable inputs regarding the whereabouts of the accused, who was absconding.

‘Coordinated delivery of IED’

The case was initially registered in Ludhiana on 23 December and was later taken over by the NIA on 13 January.

According to NIA officials, Happy was an associate of Lakhbir Singh Rode, a Pakistan-based self-styled chief of ISYF and one of the conspirators of the blast.

“Acting on the directions of Rode, he coordinated the delivery of the custom-made IED which had been sent from Pakistan, to his India-based associates, that was used in the Ludhiana court complex blast,” an NIA officer said.

“The arrested accused was also involved and wanted in various cases, including smuggling of explosives, arms and narcotics,” the officer said.


Also read: ‘Pro-Khalistan terrorist’, India’s most wanted gangster: Who was Rinda?


 

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