Chandigarh,September 18: In an operation conducted by the Punjab Police with a Central Agency, the State Special Operations Cell (SSOC) of the Punjab Police has arrested hard-core militant Rattandeep Singh from the outskirts of Gorakhpur in Eastern UP on September 17, 2014. A 19-member Punjab Police party headed by Inspectors Harvinderpal Singh and Balbir Singh of the SSOC, Amritsar had been despatched on September 14, 2014 and were camping at Gorakhpur since September 15, 2014. Necessary co-ordination with the local U.P. Police was carried out. When arrested, Rattandeep Singh was carrying Pakistani Passport and a Pak Id card in the name of Hussain Sheikh Zahid S/o Sheikh Nasiruddinalongwith Rs.300 (Pakistani currency) and Rs.11000 (Indian currency).
Initially Rattandeep Singh was a top operative of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF). Subsequently he joined hands with the BabbarKhalsa International (BKI) and became the operational head of the outfit. In July 2014 the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan revived the Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan (BTFK). At that time Col. SahbazMinhas of the ISI had joint meetings with Wadhawa Singh (BKI) and Rattandeep Singh to effect the new arrangement. The ISI picked up Rattandeep Singh to head the BTFK. As the new head of the revived BTFK, Rattandeep Singh sneaked into India to carry out violent terrorist strikes so that revival of the BTFK could comecenter-stage. It was decided by the ISI that time is ripe for spectacular terrorist action in Punjab as the festival season has begun and the impact of such strikes would be optimal.
Preliminary investigations have disclosed that the first target of Rattandeep Singh is a prominent Hindu leader. The intended target is already having personal protection provided by the Punjab Police. This fresh attempt by the ISI to revive militancy in the State has come about a year after 3 targeted plans had been pre-empted and foiled by the Punjab Police in August and September 2013. At that time also prominent Hindu personalities at Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Pathankot had been targeted. Those attempts had been made by the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) modules all of whom were arrested. Presently, the Head of the KLF, Harminder Singh @ Mintu is in Pakistan and no fresh activity of the KLF has come to notice. In February 2013, Narain Singh @ Chaura had been sent by the ISI to attempt revival of terrorism and he had been arrested by the Punjab Police.
Rattandeep Singh is a Pakistan-based militant who had been living in Pakistan since 1993. In between he has been coming to India to carry out strikes. He had recently re-entered the country to carry out a major strike.
He was the kingpin of a group of militants who had planted explosives in a vehicle in Amritsar near Circuit House in May 2010 and for that purpose he had smuggled in a consignment of weapons and explosives from across the border. His associates in this offence, Pal Singh of France, Gurmukh Singh @ Ganna and Makhan Singh @ Amli have been convicted under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for 27 years, 17 years and 10 years respectively while other associates Narain Singh @ Chaura, Sukhdev Singh @ SukhaChira, Joga Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Sher Singh, Bakshish Singh @ Baba, Daljit Singh @ Jeetu, Pakistan national Mohd. Ishfaq and Satpal Singh @ Ladi are undergoing trial. Rattandeep Singh and Narain Singh @ Chaura had absconded at that time. Chaura was trapped and arrested by the Punjab Police in February 2013 and is presently lodged in Amritsar jail. With the arrest of Rattandeep Singh, all the operatives of the terrorist gang involved in the offence have been arrested.
Rattandeep Singh iswanted in several militant offences in the country in the states of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. He is wanted in connection with a bomb blast at Passport Office, Sector 34, Chandigarh(1999), bomb blast on railway bridge in Panipat(1999), planting of anIED(Improvised Explosive Device) on the railway track at the Shahabad-Markanda bridge (1998), encounter with police and escape from custody (1999) andrecovery of arms and explosives in district Jind in (1996 & 2000).
Rattandeep Singh is a top militant and a cash reward of Rs.10 lakh was announced for him in 2011. However, a policy decision has been taken by the Punjab Police to not claim any cash reward(s).
Rattandeep Singh belongs to village Rohar in district Jind in Haryana. In March 1992 he went to Bangkok, Thailand and from there went to Germany in May 1992, shifting to Belgium in September 1992. He went to Pakistan in March 1993 on forged passport issued in the name of Harjinder Singh s/o Laxman Singh r/o Bholath (Kapurthala). He underwent arms training twice in August 1993 and June 1994 in a camp located in hilly terrain about 45 kms from Islamabad. Pandey Khan of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) received him at the airport and was incharge of the arms training imparted to Rattandeep Singh. Chaudhary Khalid Rana was a senior officer of the ISI and the main liaison man with the Pakistan-based Punjab militants. Rattandeep Singh remained in regular touch with Chaudhary Khalid Rana.
Rattandeep Singh was arrested by the police on May 9, 1996 while sneaking into India through the Samba Sector. In 1999 he escaped and masterminded the bomb blast at Sector 34, Chandigarh on June 30, 1999 and subsequently escaped to Pakistan. He again came to India via Nepal in April 2010 to carry out militant actions in Punjab. In May 2010, Rattandeep Singh alongwith his associates planted an IED(Improvised Explosive Device) in a car near Circuit House, Amritsar and thereafter managed to escape to Pakistan. Rattandeep Singh is wanted in following FIRs:-
(i) FIR No. 207 dated 11-5-1996 u/s 25 Arms Act, PS Saffidon, Jind- PO since 03-02-2001 – recovery of arms
(ii) FIR No. 214 dated 03-07-1999 u/s 353/186/285 IPC, PS Saffidon, Jind- PO since 24-03-2000 – encounter with police and escape from custody
(iii) FIR No. 217 dated 09-07-1999 u/s 3/4/5 Explosive Act, 25 Arms Act, PS Saffidon, Jind- PO since 18-02-2000 – recovery of arms and explosives
(iv) FIR No. 23 dated 15-06-2010 u/s 25 Arms Act, 3/4/5 Explosive Act, 17/18/19/20 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, PS SSOC, Amritsar- planting of bomb in a car near Circuit House, Amritsar
(v) FIR No. 24 dated 25-07-2010 u/s 25/54/59 Arms Act, 17/18/19 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, PS SSOC, Amritsar- planting of bomb in a car near Circuit House, Amritsar
(vi) FIR No. 549 dated 16-11-1998 u/s 3/4/5 Explosive Act, PS Shahbad, Kurukshetra – recovery of IED planted on the railway line at Shahabad-Markanda bridge
(vii) FIR No. 154 dated 14-4-1999 u/s 4/5 Explosive Act, 120-B, 212 IPC, PS City Panipat – bomb blast on railway bridge in Panipat
(viii) FIR No. 178 dated 30-6-1999 u/s 3/4/5 Explosive Act, 307, 34 IPC, PS Sector 34, Chandigarh – bomb blast in a vehicle parked in the parking of Passport office, Sector 34, Chandigarh
Eight police personnel who played an important role in the operation to nab Rattandeep Singh have been granted promotions to the next higher rank (Head Constables and Assistant Sub Inspectors) by the Director General of Police, Punjab.
The arrested militant was today produced in a court in Amritsar and his police remand for 10 days has been obtained for his thorough examination so as to expose the entire network.
Further investigations are ongoing.