The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a most-wanted terrorist, carrying a reward of ? five lakhs, from the Delhi airport three years after he was declared an absconder and the Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice against him.
Kulwinderjit Singh alias “Khanpuria”, who had been associated with terrorist outfits such as the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), was arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Friday soon after he arrived from Bangkok, an official of the federal agency said.
Khanpuria was involved and wanted in many terrorist cases, including a conspiracy to carry out targeted killings in Punjab. He had been on the run since 2019, and the NIA had declared a cash reward of ? five lakh for information leading to his arrest.
He was declared a proclaimed offender by an NIA special court in Punjab, following which a look-out circular and a Red Corner Notice were issued against him during the investigation of a case initially registered at the State Special Operation Cell police station in Amritsar on May 30, 2019, and later re-registered by the NIA on June 27, 2019, the official said.
Earlier, four co-accused who conspired with Khanpuria had already been arrested after recovery of arms and ammunition from their possession.
“The arrested terrorist was involved and wanted in many terrorist cases, including a conspiracy to carry out targeted killings in Punjab. He was also involved in a bomb blast case in Connaught Place, New Delhi, and grenade attacks in other states in the 1990’s,” the official said.
The NIA official said investigations revealed that Khanpuria was the chief conspirator and mastermind behind the conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks in India by targeting establishments connected with the Dera Sacha Sauda as well as those belonging to the police and security in Punjab.
Besides, he was also targeting senior officers of the Bhakra Beas Management Board, Chandigarh, with an overall objective of creating terror in Punjab and across the country, the official said, adding that he had also carried out reconnaissance of some of the targets.
“Khanpuria, along with his handlers and associates based in India and abroad in different South-East Asian countries, had planned and conspired to commit terrorist attacks in India. He later managed to flee the country,” the official said.
While he was based abroad, he first colluded with KLF chief Harmeet alias “Happy PhD” and now with wanted Pakistan-based International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF) chief Lakhbir Singh Rode to use his India-based terrorist associates to target identified individuals as well as establishments, the official said.