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Attack on Dera Chief
Police raids fail to nab prime suspect
Naveen S Garewal
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

District police chief A.S. Chawala reveals the picture of Bakhsheesh Singh (inset), Nilokheri blast mastermind, to the media at the Mini-Secretariat in Karnal on Sunday evening
District police chief A.S. Chawala reveals the picture of Bakhsheesh Singh (inset), Nilokheri blast mastermind, to the media at the Mini- Secretariat in Karnal on Sunday evening.
— Tribune photo by Ravi Kumar

Chandigarh, February 3
The Punjab Police today came to the aid of their counterparts in Haryana and assisted the latter in their hunt to find former Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Baksheesh Singh — the prime suspect behind the attempt on the life of Dera Sacha Sauda head Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Soon after the attack near Nilokheri in Karnal district of Haryana yesterday, both Punjab and Haryana have stepped up their vigil. The police raided several places in Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts. Special teams had also been sent to Uttar Pradesh, sources said.

A senior police official said a team comprising investigative officers of the Haryana police had arrived in Patiala last night. With the help of Punjab Police officials they conducted a combing operation in and around Patiala and in some nearby villages. These include Baksheesh Singh’s village Rago Majra and a religious place in the area.

In Sirhind the police scanned some villages, including Majri Akalian village.The police believes that the manner in which the explosive material was used to trigger an explosion in the spare tyre of the truck, it was clear that the job was that of a highly trained person. The police believes that the entire operation was masterminded by Baksheesh, who has been on bail since 2003.

Both Punjab and Haryana governments are keeping a close watch on the situation in the two states after angry dera supporters in their protest tried to block roads any many places in Haryana, including the national highway No. 1 in Ambala and Karnal. They had also set some vehicles on fire and resorted to violence.

PATIALA: The Haryana police failed to lay their hands on Baksheesh in their early morning swoop on his Raghomajra Colony residence.

A team of Haryana police headed by two DSPs conducted a raid on the residence of Baksheesh, originally hailing from Nizamniwala village, near Samana, at around 4.30 am but had to return empty handed. His wife Paramjit Kaur told the police that her husband had left for Nanded in Maharashtra on January 17. After this, the teams comprising two DSPs and 18-20 other officials subsequently conducted raids at some other places in the city.

The Haryana police, it was learnt, was yet to ascertain whether he was involved in the blast or not.

Though said to be a terror outfit sympathiser, Baksheesh, sources said, had distanced himself from the separatist movement during the past more than a decade. He had shifted his family from his native village and started life afresh in Patiala as a taxi driver.

Meanwhile, the Patiala police has thrown a security cordon around his house amid apprehensions that it might be attacked by dera chief’s followers.


Hunt launched for ex-KCF terrorist
Vishal Joshi
Tribune News Service

Karnal, February 3
The state police has launched a massive manhunt to nab Bakhsheesh Singh, the suspected mastermind behind the attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. The police said he was a former member of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF).

It also confirmed that RDX was used in the attack, in which no causality was reported. The explosive material, weighing about 2 kg, was set in the rear stepney of a 10-tyre truck passing alongside the chief’s cavalcade.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Karnal SSP A.S. Chawala said originally hailing from Samana in Patiala, Bakhsheesh was currently residing in Patiala town. Bakhsheesh had been released on bail in 2003.

His name was figured during the interrogation of the truck driver and cleaner, namely Swaran Singh and Mahinder Singh, who had allegedly executed the blast from the truck.

Chawala revealed that about five to six days back, the accused had reportedly cut his hair and beard.

Wanted in certain cases, the SSP said the alleged accused was directed to report at Kotwali police station in Patiala after every 15 days. He had last visited the police station on January 17.

The police was in touch with other states and had been raiding the probable hideouts of the prime accused. He, however, refused to furnish further details.

Chawala said the bomb was linked to the truck’s battery for detonation. The truck driver and cleaner tried to run away from the scene, but dera followers overpowered them and handed them over to the police.



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