Ludhiana blast accused had links with pro-Khalistan elements of Pak: Punjab DGP

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Punjab Police on Saturday claimed to have cracked the Ludhiana court bomb blast case after identifying the accused-cum-victim, Gagandeep Singh (31), who reportedly had links with Pakistan-based pro-Khalistan elements.

A high intensity explosion occurred in a public toilet at the district court complex in Ludhiana on Thursday, which left one person dead and six others injured. As per the police, Singh was the person who died while planting the bomb.

The accused was recruited in the police as a constable before being dismissed in August 2019 after heroin was recovered from his possession.

“I am proud of Punjab Police, which have successfully cracked the Ludhiana blast case in less than 24 hours,” Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya told the media here on Saturday.

The district court was functioning as usual when the blast took place and its impact was so powerful that the public toilet was completely damaged and several window panes of the building were shattered.

Chattopadhyaya said that after the post-mortem, the police were able to identify the deceased from a tattoo on his right arm. Separately, DNA samples of the body were also collected, he added.

He said the accused was working in Khanna town when he was arrested with heroin and an NDPS case was registered against him. The case is still under trial at the prosecution evidence stage, said the DGP.

He said after spending two years in a Ludhiana jail in connection with the case, Singh got out on bail in September and was supposed to appear in the court again on December 24.

The DGP said that preliminary investigations suggest that the accused wanted to create fear and panic in the court premises.

Not ruling out Pakistan-based pro-Khalistan connection behind the act, the DGP said the police are investigating the case from all angles.

“Preliminary investigations suggest that the accused could have developed links with pro-Khalistan elements in the jail, who used him to target the court premises with the intention of disturbing peace in the state,” said Chattopadhyaya.

He said the materials used for the explosion are yet to be ascertained, and samples have been sent to the forensic lab.

“A team of the National Security Guard (NSG) and that of the state forensic experts were called for a post-blast investigation,” he said.

During the course of systematic clearing of debris at the blast site, the forensic team collected some vital clues like damaged a mobile set and burnt clothes on the body of the victim, besides other material evidence, the DGP added.

According to the accused’s wife, Jaspreet Kaur, her husband had left home at about 9.30 a.m. on the day of the blast. She recognised the tattoo mark on the arm of Singh and the clothes worn by him.

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