GANDHINAGER, WNS: Accused of running a terror module with links in Canada and Pakistan in 2017, Mann Singh Nihang and three others – Sher Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Simarjit Singh – have been convicted under Arms Act by an Amritsar court. These four, along with other accused in the case, were, however, acquitted of charges under the UAPA. The quantum of sentence against all four held guilty under Arms Act will be pronounced on October 28. The terror case was investigated by the Special Operations Cell, Amritsar.
The BSF and the Punjab Police in a joint operation on May 24, 2107, had claimed to bust a terror module with links to Canada and Pakistan after arresting two suspected Khalistani militants.
Mann Singh (40) from Sri Hargobindpur in Gurdaspur and Sher Singh (28) from Kartarpur in Jalandhar were arrested from the Indo-Pak border area, when they were trying to recover weapons that were earlier smuggled into India from Pakistan, Punjab Police spokesperson had claimed.
Among the accused, while Maan Singh Nihang is lodged at Ferozepur Jail, Sher Singh and Balwinder Singh are in Kapurthla jail, Gurpreet Singh, Simarjeet Singh and Balkar Singh in Amritsar jail and Satinder Rawat is on bail. In 2017, they were booked under Arms Act, Explosives Act, Foreigners Act and UAPA.
“All the accused have been acquitted in UAPA, Explosives Act by court of Sarabjit Singh, additional session judge- 1, Amritsar,” said defence lawyer Jaspal Singh Manjhpur. At the time of arrest, only two licenced weapons were recovered from accused. After initial investigation, security forces had claimed to seize more weapons including AK-47 assault rifle and five hand grenades.
Police had claimed, “The terrorists during preliminary interrogation have said their module was raised and indoctrinated by an Ontario-based Sikh hardliner Gurjivan Singh, who was in touch with them for the past two years, and had motivated them to commit terror strikes in Punjab. Gurjivan made two trips to Punjab in the last six months, and had arranged the arms and ammunition for their operations through his Pakistan-based Khalistani contacts….During his last two trips to Punjab, Gurjivan had imparted them theoretical training on handling arms, including the AK-47 rifle.” Police had also claimed that during the interrogation, Mann had also confessed to having made several visits to Pakistan and being in touch with some Khalistani activists there.
Mann Singh was also nominated in the racket busted by Punjab Police about alleged arm smuggling from Pakistan into India using drones. Police had claimed that Mann Singh and Sher Singh had “radicalised” one of the accused Akashdeep Singh during his stay at Amritsar central jail. Akashdeep was allegedly one of the key accused in Khalistan Zindabad Force module that was busted by Amritsar (Rural) police.