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Jo Bole So Nihaal: Babbar Khalsa Chief Arrested


The Indian Express, New Delhi, Jun. 8, 2005

Photo: Jagtar Singh Hawara

In a breakthrough that overshadowed the capture of the two main accused in the twin blasts case today, Delhi Police arrested Babbar Khalsa's India operations chief Jagtar Singh Hawara.

Hawara is the prime accused in ex-Punjab C.M. Beant Singh's assassination case and had been on the run after escaping from Burail Jail in Chandigarh through a tunnel dug by inmates last year.

According to Delhi police, Hawara, who carries a reward of Rs. 5 lakh, was nabbed along with the main accused in blast case Jaspal Singh alias Raja and his associate Vikas Sehgal after an early morning encounter near Narela.

Police recovered 10.35 k.g. of R.D.X., four pistols made in England, 207 live cartridges, three empty shells, remote control devices, a hand grenade and brand new Hyundai Accent belonging to Hawara.

With the arrest, Delhi Police Commissioner, Dr. K.K. Paul said the investigations into the bomb blast case has been wrapped up. Paul said the three were coming to Delhi to collect hawala money and then escape to Nepal.

The three have been remanded to police custody till June 20 though Hawara was taken to hospital for a while after he complained of back pain.

Sources said the haul of arms and interrogations have indicated that they were planning to eliminate some top politicians and bureaucrats. In the past, the Babbar Khalsa is rumoured to have trained their sights on targets such as K.P.S Gill, Congress leaders Sajjan Kumar and H.K.L. Bhagat, and some controversial religious figures in Punjab.

During the interrogation of Jaspal and Vikas, police said, it turned out that they escaped to Punjab after the blast. They got in touch with Hawara so that a safe passage to another country could be arranged.

Police said the interrogation of Jaspal and Vikas has clarified some of the information received from suspects arrested earlier.

Jaspal confirmed to police that Shahid, who has been named by other suspects, is a Pakistani. They allegedly met him in Bangkok and he gave them directions and the money to plan the blast. With the Babbar Khalsa chief Wadhawa Singh also based in Pakistan, the investigators said Shahid could be an I.S.I. operative.

Another piece of information that had surfaced was about a consignment of arms that Jaspal was supposed to have brought from Jammu. Police said with Wednesday's recovery, the entire consignment has been accounted for.