The Ludhiana rural police have arrested three persons for allegedly leaking classified information and sharing photographs of Indian Air Force’s Halwara airbase with an “ISI agent in Pakistan”.
Police have booked three under the several sections of the IPC including sedition, Official Secrets Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in an FIR registered at Sudhar police station. As per the FIR, the three were in touch with “pro-Khalistan outfits” and “wanted to disturb peace in Punjab”.
FIR (copy with The Indian Express) further says that they were in touch with “ISI agent in Pakistan” and were seeking to “smuggle weapons”.
Police identified the three arrested persons as Ramdas Singh, a contractual employee (a diesel mechanic) from village Toosa of Ludhiana who used to work inside Halwara airbase and his two accomplices — Sukhkiran Singh (also from village Toosa) and Shabir Ali, a native of Laal Pippal of Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh.
The FIR says that Ramdas Singh, who returned to Punjab after living for some years in Kuwait, was working as a diesel mechanic inside Halwara airbase. He along with Sukhkiran and Shabir, was associated with ‘pro-Khalistan groups’ and they ‘wanted to disturb peace in Punjab’. It adds that Ramdas Singh was “in touch with ISI agent Adnan Aadi in Pakistan”.
“They were seeking to smuggle weapons and other material from Pakistan. They were in constant touch with ISI agent Adnan Aadi via WhatsApp and social media,” says the FIR.
“Ramdas, on the pretext of working as a diesel mechanic, was sending secret information and photos from inside the Halwara airforce station airbase to Pakistan, thus endangering country’s security, unity and integrity,” reads the FIR.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ludhiana rural SSP Charanjit Singh Sohal, said that all three persons named in the FIR had been arrested.
“Ramdas Singh was the first to be arrested. The other two were arrested on Wednesday. We have secured their police remand from the court and will be interrogating them for further details.” The SSP added that Ramdas was leaking out the secret information and photographs of the Halwara Airforce station airbase to his alleged ISI handler in Pakistan.
Police sources said that Ramdas Singh, a man in his late thirties, was having access to Halwara airbase since nearly a year after he started providing services as a diesel mechanic inside the airbase premises. Further he came in touch with Sukhkiran Singh, also from village Toosa and having a criminal background.
Police said that Sukhkiran was booked in a murder case some years back and was jailed. He apparently got “radicalised” and bent towards “Khalistan ideology” when he was lodged at Nabha jail, said a police official adding that he (Sukhkiran) contacted Ramdas to get information from him regarding Halwara airbase.
Earlier, Sukhkiran used to own a grocery shop before being booked in a murder case. Sources said that both Ramdas and Sukhkiran were allegedly in contact with “ISI agent” Adnan Aadi in Pakistan and “had started to hatch a conspiracy to disturb peace in Punjab.”
Sources further said that the third arrested person, Shabir Ali, a youth belonging to Himachal Pradesh, was contacted by Sukhkiran and Ramdas, and they wanted him to act as their “mediating link” with ISI agents in Pakistan.
FIR against the three has been registered at Sudhar police station under the sections 124-A (Sedition), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth etc and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 120-B (conspiracy) of IPC; Sections 3, 4, 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act and Section 10 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“It cannot be ruled out if they were conspiring to carry out an attack on Halwara airbase or some other major terror activity but things will be clear only after their interrogation,” said the SSP.
In one of the biggest terror attacks on country’s air force station at least seven from security forces died after heavily armed militants had stormed Pathankot airbase in Punjab, nearly five years back on January 2, 2016.
Six militants were also neutralised in the four-day gun battle.