New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has approached German authorities to help them identify India-based associates of “terror operative” and Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) member Jaswinder Singh Multani, who he was allegedly in touch with through phone calls, ThePrint has learnt. Multani is currently in Germany and authorities there had detained him in December, on the request of Indian agencies.
According to sources, security agencies had intercepted a series of calls in December, in which Multani was allegedly heard speaking to associates in Mumbai and Delhi about the smuggling of arms and ammunition from across the border for attacks in India. That is when Multani first came on the agency’s radar and German authorities were alerted.
Till December, Multani, originally from Mansoorpur village in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district, had not been named in any terror related cases being investigated by the NIA.
“There were some intercepts in the last week of December in which Multani was heard speaking to his associates in India. There was a plan to carry out terror strikes in Mumbai and other parts of India, with support of his Punjab-based associates. There were talks of arranging of logistics. On the directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs, a formal case in this regard was registered and investigation taken up,” a source said.
“As part of the investigation we have now asked German authorities to assist us in identifying who all Multani was in touch with over the phone and was communicating with through different channels in India, so that we are able to pin point his associates in India,” the source said.
When asked if the German authorities will be accessing Multani’s call detail records to share the information with India, the source did not divulge much. “We have sought their assistance and we have been assured that there will be full cooperation from their end,” the source said.
An NIA team is also planning to leave for Germany for the investigation, said sources.
‘He has been silent’
According to the security agencies source quoted above, Multani did not say much, when German authorities detained him for investigation on 28 December last year, based on a request from Indian agencies. He was later released.
According to the source he has not been cooperating with the authorities and is using his “right to remain silent” in Germany, to not divulge any details.
“He did not divulge much on his associates or the calls that he made, when he was detained,” the source said.
“Once we have details of his associates in India, the ones who are helping push consignments of arms, receiving the money, we will be able to bust the racket. The investigation in the case is on,” the source said.
According to the source, Multani is in contact with “ISI operative Jibran, as well as a Pakistan-based smuggling network involving history-sheeters Rana Taseem, Imran and others (accused in smuggling and terror cases).”
An FIR registered against Multani by the NIA on 31 December mentions that the accused was allegedly planning attacks in Mumbai and other parts of India and trying to revive militancy in Punjab, with the support of operatives from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and his Delhi, Mumbai and Punjab-based associates. ThePrint has a copy of the FIR.
Multani has, however, denied involvement in terrorism conspiracies. According to a video issued by the SFJ’s general counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on social media last month, Multani claimed his fight was one of the “pen”, not “weapons”. He also alleged that Indian authorities were trying to defame him and the SFJ.
According to police records accessed by ThePrint, Multani had three cases registered against him in Punjab in 2021 — one in Amritsar, another in Mohali and the third in Tarn Taran.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)