A joint operation of Punjab Police and Central agencies led to the arrest of Kailash Khichan, who is said to be a key operative of Pakistan-based terrorist Harvinder Singh Rinda and USA-based Harpreet Singh, also known as Happy Passia.
Preliminary interrogation revealed that the accused Khichan was supplying weapons to the associates of terrorist outfit Babbar Khalistan International (BKI) to carry out sensational crimes in Punjab, on the directions of terrorist Rinda.
The Punjab Police further said that the arrested accused has a criminal history with several criminal cases of extortion, NDPS Act and Arms Act registered against him in Rajasthan and Punjab.
He was also wanted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) registered in Fazilka in September 2023. One Chinese pistol and eight live cartridges were recovered from him.
Rinda, a former gangster, has now become a key member of BKI and a pro-Khalistan operative. In 2018-19, he fled to Pakistan and is currently residing there with the support of the ISI.
Rinda is allegedly connected to numerous acts of terrorism, including the RPG attack on the Punjab police intelligence headquarters in Mohali in May 2022. In 2023, he was declared an "individual terrorist."
Recently, another Khalistani, Manpreet Singh alias Peeta, who is allegedly a close associate of Arshdeep Singh Gill, was charge sheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the terror-gangster network case.
It is alleged that he was engaged in collecting weapons from the Indo-Pakistan border and making extortion calls to generate funds for Arsh Dalla and the organisation.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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