Rinda hiring ‘small-time criminals’ to spread terror in state, say cops

Rinda hiring ‘small-time criminals’ to spread terror in state, say cops

Chandigarh/Mohali : As the initial probe into the first-of-its-kind rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack on the Punjab Police intelligence headquarters in Mohali hints towards the role of gangster-turned-Khalistani terrorist Harvinder Singh Rinda, who is emerging as the mastermind, the modus operandi adopted in the attack is identical to at least four recent modules busted by the state police.

Rinda, a notorious gangster-turned-terrorist believed to be in Pakistan is active in Punjab, Chandigarh, Maharashtra and Haryana and is a history-sheeter and wanted by the Punjab Police in heinous crimes, including murder, contract killing, robbery, extortion and snatching.

According to the police, two men who hurled the RPG at the intelligence headquarters were paid. They say Rinda is hiring local criminals by using his gangster network to spread terror in the state. Similar modus operandi was adopted during the attack on the CIA Nawanshahr police station in November last year and Kalma Morh police post in Rupnagar district in March this year. The FIRs registered by SBS Nagar (Nawanshahr) police in both the cases termed Rinda as the mastermind. He lured small-time criminals by using money, say police.

Rinda also used local youths to keep a tiffin bomb that was recovered from a well in Una district of Himachal Pradesh. The Pakistan-based terrorist has also been booked as the mastermind wherein four men from Punjab were arrested in Karnal with IEDs in a joint operation by Punjab and Haryana Police recently.

Four local youths, most with small criminal background, were hired through a local gangster to deliver the IRD consignment in Telangana. The counter-intelligence wing probe has revealed that they were paid 5 lakh through hawala and drug networks to deliver the consignment. Besides, Rinda was named in the Ludhiana court blast case last year.

HT had earlier reported how unemployed youth with small criminal backgrounds were being lured by Pakistan-based Khalistani terrorists to perform terror acts by paying them money.

Identical module in army cantonment attack

Police probe says local youths were paid 2 lakh to hurl grenades outside the army cantonment in Pathankot and at the CIA police station in SBS Nagar in November last year.

Use of RPG is worrisome

Though the modus operandi adopted in the Mohali blast appears to be the same as used in earlier attacks, what has worried the state agencies is the use of RPG as there is a strong fear that the attackers might have been given online or physical training by the perpetrators. This is for the first time that the RPG has been used in any terror activity in recent times.

Initial probe has also revealed that the RPG could have been pushed through drones from across the border. However, the probe team is tight-lipped on the issue. The RPG could have been fired from a distance of 100 metres from a vacant land right in front of the intelligence headquarter, say the police.

Senior cops were in building just before attack

Police sources say senior cops held a meeting at the intelligence headquarters just before the RGP attack. As the meeting got over, some employees ordered pizza. At 7.40 pm, the pizza delivery boy came outside the headquarters, following which an employee of the intelligence wing came down to collect it. While going upstairs, he heard the blast. Jagtar Singh, a security guard outside the headquarters saw smoke emanating from room number 41 on the third floor and told the employee that AC had exploded. “When we rushed to the room, we saw a grenade on the chair,” he said.

According to police sources, two youths wearing T-shirts were also seen fleeing from the spot in a Swift car soon after the attack.

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Vijay Singh

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