Chandigarh, September 23
Tightening its noose around pro-Khalistan hardliners abroad, the Centre today confiscated the properties of Canada-based “designated individual terrorist” Gurpatwant Singh Pannu in Chandigarh and Amritsar.
Pannu, who operates from the US as well and is the self-styled general counsel of the outlawed Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), was the mastermind behind the “Sikh Referendum on Khalistan”, which failed to garner any response in Punjab.
A National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson said the properties confiscated included 46-kanal agricultural land in Amritsar’s Khankot village and one-fourth share of a house in Chandigarh’s Sector 15/C.
Fanning hatred abroad
Pannu playing key role in promoting and commissioning terror acts abroad and in Punjab
His outfit SFJ radicalising youth and instigating them to undertake terrorist crimes
Recently threatened Hindus to leave Canada for backing India
Nov 2022: Pannu declared PO
Feb 2021: NIA court issues NBWs
NIA uses UAPA for 1st time to seize assets
The spokesperson said the properties were confiscated following orders from a special NIA court in Mohali. The properties were earlier attached following orders passed by the government in two different cases and these had now been confiscated under Section 33(5) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in a case registered on April 5, 2020. This is the first time that properties of an absconding accused of the NIA have been confiscated under the UAPA. The case was originally registered on October 19, 2018, under various sections of the IPC at the Sultanwind police station in Amritsar and later transferred to the NIA. A total of 10 accused, including Pannu, have so far been chargesheeted.
Pannu and his family members no longer reside in these properties. Officials said the government would decide the fate of the properties, which could be auctioned after the razing of structures.
Pannu has been on the NIA’s radar since 2019 when the anti-terror agency registered its first case against the terrorist, who has been playing a major role in promoting and commissioning terror acts and activities, and spreading fear and terror in Punjab and elsewhere in the country through his threats and intimidation tactics. Non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against him by the NIA special court on February 3, 2021, and he was declared a proclaimed offender on November 29 last year. “Investigations have revealed that the SFJ is misusing cyberspace to radicalise gullible youth and instigate them to undertake terrorist crimes and activities,” the spokesperson said. Investigations also revealed that Pannu was the main handler and controller of the SFJ, which was declared an “unlawful association” by the Centre on July 10, 2019. In recent days, Pannu was in the news for issuing threats to senior Indian diplomats and government functionaries in public forums. He had also threatened Canadian Hindus a few days ago, asking them to leave Canada and claiming that they had adopted a “jingoistic approach” by siding with India. The NIA action came amid an escalating diplomatic row between India and Canada over the killing of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar by unidentified assailants in British Columbia in June.
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