Central intelligence agencies and police, investigating Improvised Explosive Device (IED) recovery cases in the country, are suspecting a common link. The two consignments of eight IEDs, which reached Punjab last year, were delivered in two parts sent by Pakistan-based gangster Lakhbir Singh Rode, who is in touch with local criminals of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
According to top sources aware of the investigation, the IED recovered from Ghazipur flower market last month and East Delhi’s Seemapuri last week is likely to be linked with similar consignments used in the Ludhiana court blast in December. Several intelligence alerts were issued from October 2021 to January 2022 after the Punjab police made the recovery of IED from Amritsar near the Indo-Pak border.
When the intelligence agencies found out that the eight IEDs were sent by Rode, an alert was issued in October and several inputs were sent regarding the same after January 8 when the Election Commission declared elections, sources said.
These consignments were sent through drones and picked up by locals and transported by Over Ground workers (OGW), sources claimed.
They further said IEDs are not restricted to Delhi, and there might be a possibility that the IEDs were supposed to be transported to poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Both IEDs were found a few kilometres away from UP. Uttar Pradesh’s Special Task Force (STF) also visited Delhi’s Seemapuri for further investigation and will assist the Delhi police if need be.
“After the consignments of eight IEDs sent from Pakistan were noticed, three alerts were raised by agencies at a different interval. Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh police were asked to keep strict checks as they are on the target. These consignments were delivered and further transported by using local network arranged by Pakistan-based Rode who used terror outfits help cross the border,” an official said.
According to a senior Delhi Police official, “Two recoveries made by the Delhi police are likely to have same material and grade and were transported to Delhi through a similar route, probably through Punjab.”
The IED used in the Ludhiana court blast is also suspected to be from the same consignments sent last year.
The Haryana police, continuing its investigation of a similar module, had last week arrested Sagar alias Binni, Sunil alias Pahalwan and Jatin alias Rajesh. The three accused were allegedly in touch with gangster Rode and wanted to execute his orders in Punjab. The three accused have been booked under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), along with Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Arms Act. The police have also recovered AK-47 from their possession as well.
Similarly, according to a report, the Punjab police recovered IED weighing 5 kg concealed in a bag lying on the Attari-Bachiwind road in Punjab’s Amritsar, close to the Pakistan border. “After the recovery of the IED in Amritsar, the police have cordoned off the area. Some Indian currency notes were also found inside,” said Assistant Inspector General (STF) Rashpal Singh, who was present at the site. The police also said the consignment was arranged by Rode.
All agencies and police are now coordinating with each other to unearth local support helping Rode in different states.