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Tarn Taran blast: NIA arrests key accused Gurjant Singh

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New Delhi, Oct 4, 2019-

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested the “main accused and the conspirator” of an accidental blast that occurred in Punjab’s border Tarn Taran town last month, leaving him injured and two of his associates killed.

The agency said that Gurjant Singh, a resident of Bachhre village in Tarn Taran, was arrested immediately after his release from a private hospital where he was admitted after receiving injuries in the explosion that took place at the outskirts of Pandori Gola village in Tarn Taran town on September 4.

He was produced before the Special NIA Court, Mohali, which remanded him to NIA custody till October 11.

NIA said that two accused — Vikram alias Vicky alias Bikkar Singh and Harpreet Singh alias Happy — died on the spot in the explosion while Gurjant Singh sustained injuries while they were trying to dig out an explosive substance buried by them in a vacant plot on the outskirts of Pandori Gola village.

The NIA took over the case after the Centre on September 20 accepted Captain Amarinder Singh-led Punjab government’s recommendation and handed over the probe to the agency in view of its national and international ramifications, and the suspected links of the accused to the Pakistan-backed Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

The case was earlier being probed by Punjab Police which had filed an FIR on September 5 under charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder of the Indian Penal Code, and sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substances Act.

The Punjab Police later invoked sections 10, 11 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act on September 15. After NIA took over the investigation, Sections 16, 18, 20 and 23 of the Act were also added.

Punjab Police had earlier arrested seven persons — Mandeep Singh, Chandeep Singh, Malkiat Singh, Amrit Singh, Harjit Singh, Amarajeet Singh and Manpreet Singh — in the case and they were also produced before the Special NIA Court on Friday.

On NIA’s plea seeking custody of Amrit Singh and Harjit Singh, the court granted the agency their custody till October 11.

“NIA is conducting investigation to unearth the larger conspiracy involved wherein the accused were radicalised and motivated for terror action. Further investigation is being conducted to find out the source of explosives, motivation and training of the module, potential targets, financing as well as other support from within the country and beyond,” said a NIA statement.

Investigation so far reveals the role of Bikramjit Singh, who has left the country in 2018, said the NIA.

“Custodial investigation is likely to further throw light on the matter. Various incriminating materials seized during the investigation have been sent for expert opinion and the investigation is in active stage,” the agency added.

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