NIA conducts searches in UP, Punjab in extortion case of Khalistani terrorists

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI) The NIA conducted searches at nine locations in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh on Thursday in connection with a case relating to threatening and extorting money by Khalistani terrorists in Punjab's Moga, an official said.

The searches were carried out in Barnala, Moga, Ferozepur in Punjab and Meerut and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) official said.

The case was registered in Moga in May under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, the Arms Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The FIR was registered on the basis of information received by the Punjab police that Arshdeep Singh of Moga, Charanjit Singh of Barnala and Ramandeep Singh of Ferozepur -- all currently abroad -- had formed a gang and were threatening and extorting money from people, the official said.

The NIA re-registered the case and took over the probe.

Three accused were arrested and arms and ammunition seized, the official said.

Absconding accused Arshdeep -- a close associate of Hardeep Singh, a designated terrorist by the Government of India and the chief of the Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) -- had formed the terrorist gang comprising gangsters and shooters based in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, according to the NIA official.

The arrested accused have allegedly killed three businessmen based in Punjab and had identified other targets as well, he added.

In the searches, empty bullet cartridges, one polythene bag containing 122 grams of a narcotic substance, digital devices including compact drives, mobile phones, SIM cards, and many incriminating documents were seized, the official said, adding that further investigation is underway. PTI CPS SKL RC

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