NIA to investigate arms and drugs smuggling by drones from Pakistan | Latest India News
New Delhi: Amid an imminent threat of terrorist attacks in the Punjab around the legislative elections, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been mandated to investigate a series of incidents related to the smuggling of arms and ammunition, of explosives as well as drugs coming from across the border via Punjab and Rajasthan by Lakhbir Singh Rode, one of the most wanted Khalistani activists in India and the head of the International Federation of Sikh Youth (ISYF) based in Pakistan, said people familiar with the development.
Initial investigations revealed that several shipments of small and large firearms, heroin, and explosives such as RDX packaged in tiffins (lunch boxes) have been sent in recent months with the help from Pakistani spy agency ISI. The drones are mainly used to drop off these consignments in an attempt to rekindle activism in the Punjab as well as to carry out terrorist attacks in other parts of the country, a senior officer said on condition of anonymity.
Rode, who also bears the nickname Baba, is a nephew of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. He is reportedly currently living in Lahore, Pakistan, and works closely with a certain Qasim, a suspected ISI officer.
Officials said the NIA is investigating a case involving the arrest of one Darvesh Singh on September 7 this year. Darvesh Singh, along with his father Anokh Singh, both residents of Ferozepur, and 5-6 others were coordinating collections of weapons, heroin and explosives on the borders of Punjab and Rajasthan.
Between August and September alone, Punjab police dismantled at least four modules involved in smuggling weapons and explosives across the border. In fact, several arrests were made and several tiffin bombs, hand grenades, detonators, small pistols, etc. were picked up by police in Ambala, Kapurthala, Amritsar and Ferozepur, following which the government of Punjab ordered a high alert in the state.
The federal counterterrorism agency is already investigating a case concerning the recovery of a tiffin bomb from the Lopoke subdivision in Amritsar on August 8.
He will examine whether there is a link between the recovery of the Tiffin bomb on August 8 and the arrest of Darvesh Singh on September 7.
Besides the ISYF, other Khalistani formations such as the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) and the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) are using Chinese drones with the help of the ISI to arm a movement aimed at destabilizing the Punjab.
Multiple assessments by Indian agencies and the border guard force, the Border Security Force (BSF), have warned that the use by the Pakistani military, ISI and terrorist groups of commercial drones or quadcopters is a serious threat given the size of the border, which is difficult for man physically 24 hours a day.