Shaurya Chakra awardee Comrade Balwinder Singh Sandhu

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) charged eight Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorists on Tuesday in the murder case of Shaurya Chakra awardee Comrade Balwinder Singh Sandhu.

Balwinder Singh Sandhu was shot dead by two unidentified men in the early hours of October 10, 2020, at the residence-cum-school run by him in Punjab's Tarn Taran. The assailants then fled the spot on a bike.

A case was then registered by the Punjab police in this regard.

The charge-sheet was filed in the NIA Special Court in Mohali, Punjab, against Sukhraj Singh, Ravinder Singh, Akashdeep Arora, Jagroop Singh, Sukhdeep Singh, Gurjit Singh, Inderjit Singh, and Sukhmeet Pal Singh, among others, under sections 120B, 201, 212, and 302 of the IPC, as well as relevant sections of the Arms Act and the stringent UAPA.

The NIA investigation has revealed that the execution of Comrade Balwinder Singh Sandhu was carried out with the intention of instilling fear in the minds of Indians, particularly those opposed to Khalistani ideology.

The transnational conspiracy was hatched by Pakistan-based self-styled KLF chief Lakhvir Singh Rode and top foreign-based KLF terrorists.

Furthermore, officials have also uncovered a well-oiled terrorist-narcotics-criminal nexus. As part of this nexus, Pakistan-based entities smuggled narcotics and weapons across the International Border into Punjab in order to generate funds for terrorist acts.

The NIA investigated eight similar incidents of targeted/attempted killings by the KLF between January 2016 and October 2017, in which seven people from specific communities were killed.

The KLF leadership had recruited, financed, and armed a local gangster, Sukhmeet Pal Singh, and tasked him with carrying out the killings through his associates.

Following the reported murder of Harmeet Singh, the Pak-based operational chief of the KLF in Pakistan, in January 2020, Sukhmeet Pal Singh was directed by Lakhvir Singh Rode and other KLF operatives via encrypted communication platforms to kill Comrade Balwinder Singh.

The reconnaissance of the target was carried out by Inderjeet Singh and sharpshooters Gurjit Singh and Sukhdeep Singh. The others charge-sheeted by the NIA are associates of Sukhmeet Pal Singh who helped organise logistics and shelter for the shooters.

Further investigations are being conducted against foreign-based Khalistani entities, including Lakhvir Singh Rode and others.