New Delhi: A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team will soon leave for Germany to investigate a case against Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) member Jaswinder Singh Multani, who is allegedly planning attacks in Mumbai and other parts of India with the support of operatives from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and his Punjab-based associates, sources in the agency told ThePrint.
The NIA had last month registered a case under criminal conspiracy charges and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, against Multani and other operatives of the SFJ — a US-based pro-Khalistan group banned in India for its secessionist activities — for “conspiring to carry out terror attacks in India and revive militancy in Punjab”.
This case has no connection with the blast at Ludhiana’s district and sessions court complex that took place on 23 December 2021, agency sources said.
Multani was detained in Germany on 28 December, 2021 after Indian agencies got in touch with investigators in the European nation regarding some inputs about his alleged involvement in a terror conspiracy, but was let off after questioning.
“A team will head to Germany to question Multani in the case that we registered against him and other operatives after we received reliable inputs. Once we have enough evidence, the process of arrest and extradition will also be initiated. We are in constant touch with the German authorities,” a source in the agency said.
Multani, the source added, is in contact with “ISI operative Jibran as well as a Pakistan-based smuggling network involving history-sheeters Rana Taseem, Imran and others, and is actively pursuing a conspiracy to carry out attacks in Mumbai and other parts of India, with support of his Punjab-based associates”.
Multani’s associates, the source said, include Jagdish Singh Bhura of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF), deputy chief of KZF Gurmeet Singh, who is also associated with SFJ, Ranjeet Singh Pakhoke of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), Sukhdev Singh Heran and Hardeep Singh Nijjar of Babbar Khalsa International, and KTF members Paramjit Singh Pamma and Ranjeet Singh Neeta.
Multani, however, has denied his involvement in terrorism conspiracies. According to a video issued by the SFJ’s general counsel Gurpatwant Singh Pannun last month, Multani said his fight was one of the “pen”, not “weapons”. He also said the Indian authorities were trying to defame him and the SFJ.
‘No connection with Ludhiana blast’
Although the NIA registered this case a week after a high-grade blast left one dead and five injured in Ludhiana’s district and sessions court complex, it has no connection with the same, the agency source said.
“We do not have any such reports on Multani’s involvement in the Ludhiana court blast yet. That case is being investigated by Punjab Police, who have not conveyed any such link to us. This case is a separate investigation based on information about Multani’s involvement in reviving militancy in Punjab and planning terror attacks in Mumbai,” the source added.
According to the NIA, Multani, who hails from Mansoorpur village in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district, had never been on their radar before as he had not been involved in any of the cases being investigated by the agency.
Punjab Police, however, have a record of him.
According to police records accessed by ThePrint, Multani has three cases against him, one in Amritsar, another in Mohali and the third in Tarn Taran — all registered in 2021.
In the first FIR, registered on 7 February in Amritsar, police claimed that Multani sent money to a man called Jeewan Singh to procure weapons and eliminate farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal to create unrest during the farmers’ movement.
Jeewan Singh allegedly disclosed to police that Multani had given him this instruction on social media. Four pistols, five magazines and a live cartridge were also recovered from his possession, according to the FIR.
The second case was registered on 30 August in Tarn Taran. Police alleged that Multani sent money to his associate Saroop Singh Kukki to “carry out nefarious activities”. Two hand grenades were allegedly recovered from Kukki.
The third case was registered on 3 December, under sections of the UAPA, among others, on allegations of “terror financing”.
“Multani has been on our radar. He has been propagating the Referendum 2020 secessionist agenda on social media and has participated in all rallies and events organised by the SFJ in Germany,” a source in the Punjab Police told ThePrint. “Moreover, he has been sending money to his associates in Punjab for procurement of arms.”
According to an NIA source, Mulatni and his associates have been “radicalising, motivating and recruiting” youths in Punjab on the ground as well as online through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and encrypted messengers such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal.
“They have also been raising funds to procure arms, ammunition and explosives by using the smuggling network in Punjab for carrying out terror attacks,” the source said.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)