Chief of Pakistan-based militant outfit arrested from Gorakhpur

Pakistan-based chief of militant outfit 'Bhinderanwale Tiger Force of Khalistan' (BTFK) has been arrested on the outskirts of Gorakhpur city of Uttar Pradesh, a senior police officer said here on Thursday.

Chandigarh: Pakistan-based chief of militant outfit 'Bhinderanwale Tiger Force of Khalistan' (BTFK) has been arrested on the outskirts of Gorakhpur city of Uttar Pradesh, a senior police officer said here on Thursday.

Rattandeep Singh was arrested yesterday, police said, adding that he was conspiring to carry out attacks during upcoming festival season.

Punjab Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Manmohan Singh, said that the arrested militant was today produced in a court in Amritsar.

The court has sent him to 10-day police custody.

According to the officer, a 19-member Punjab police team from Amritsar was dispatched to Gorakhpur on September 14 and with the help of UP police they carried out the operation.

Rattandeep was carrying a Pakistani passport and a ID card. Currencies of Pakistan were also found from his possession.

"Initially, Singh was a top operative of Khalistan Commando Force (KCF). Later he joined hands with the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and became the operational head of the outfit," he said.

"In July 2014, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan revived the Bhindranwale Tiger Force of Khalistan (BTFK)," the AIGP said in a release.

The ISI had picked up Rattandeep to head the BTFK, he said.

Preliminary investigations have disclosed that the first target of Rattandeep was a prominent Hindu leader, he said.

The intended target is already having personal protection provided by the Punjab police, he said without divulging his name.

Rattandeep had been living in Pakistan since 1993.

"He was the kingpin of a group of militants who had planted explosives in a vehicle in Amritsar near Circuit House in May 2010. He had smuggled in the consignment of explosives from across the border," the AIGP said.

Rattandeep was wanted in several cases in the country and

in Punjab and Haryana. He was also carrying a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh.

Rattandeep belongs to Rohar village of Jind district in Haryana, the AIGP said.

He underwent arms training twice in August 1993 and in June 1994 in a camp in hilly terrain about 45 kms from Islamabad, the AIGP said.

Earlier, Rattandeep was arrested by the police on May 9, 1996 while sneaking into India through Samba Sector.

But he escaped in 1999 and masterminded the bomb blast at Sector 34 in Chandigarh on June 30, 1999.  

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