Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said that Pakistan's notorious spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was behind the targeted killings of several right-wing leaders across the state.
Singh further said that it was a major conspiracy by the ISI to fan communal disturbances and destabilise the state by killing the right-wing leaders.
The veteran Congress leader added that the arrests made by the Punjab Police have established the ISI link to the killings.
Amarinder Singh said the questioning of the accused revealed that they were trained abroad and were using encrypted mobile software and apps for communication with handlers based in Pakistan and some western countries.
"The ISI is always looking to disturb the country's peace and to radicalise the youth," he said.
He said the probe pointed out that targeted killings were aimed at fanning communal disturbances to further the ISI's anti-India game plan.
The remarks from Singh came after the Punjab Police busted a terror module and arrested four persons, including a gangster lodged in Nabha jail, cracking most cases of targeted killings in the border state since January 2016.
Punjab was rocked by the murder of at least nine right-wing, other religious leaders in the past two years, including the sensational killing of senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (retd).
Three arrested suspects are Jimmy Singh of Jammu, who returned to India from the United Kingdom after spending many years there and picked up a week ago from Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport; Jagtar Singh Johal alias Jaggi, a UK national apprehended in Jalandhar; and Dharmender alias Guggni, a gangster from Meharban in Ludhiana, who was supplying weapons to the killers, and currently lodged in Nabha jail.
The Chief Minister told the media here that the identity of the fourth arrested suspect, the main shooter in various cases, could not be revealed as he was caught on Tuesday afternoon and his interrogation was on.
"Though the Punjab government handed over Gagneja murder case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, our police cracked this case too with the latest busting of the terror module, the eighth such module to be smashed since the Congress government took charge in March 2017," the Chief Minister said.
"Last month's murder of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain has also been solved with these arrests, which have been linked to most cases of targeted killings in Ludhiana, Khanna and Jalandhar since January 2016," he said.
Director General of Police Suresh Arora said more such incidents in the future could not be completely ruled out, adding that police was fully geared up to face all situations.
The DGP said similar weapons were used in the killing of Durga Das and Gagneja in Jalandhar, as was in the Amit Sharma case in Ludhiana, as also in February 2017 Khanna killings of Dera Sacha Sauda followers Satpal Kumar and his son; July 2017 Ludhiana killing of Christian Pastor Sultan Masih; and last month's Ludhiana murder of RSS leader Ravinder Gosain.
"In fact, similar weapons -- standard 9mm, .32 bore and .30 bore pistols -- were also used in the Ludhiana RSS 'shakha' attack case of January 2016 and Amit Arora murder case of February 2016," the DGP said.
With IANS inputs