Tar­geted killings: UK NRI Jo­hal was on po­lice radar for a year

Role tracked af­ter ‘vague info’ about a key man ‘Jo­hal’ pro­vided by sources to cops

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HINDUSTANTIMES HTPUNJAB - Ravin­der Va­sudeva

CHANDI­GARH: Jag­tar Singh Jo­hal, 31, a non-res­i­dent In­dia set­tled in the United Kingdom who is now a prime ac­cused in the tar­geted killing of Hindu right-wing lead­ers and oth­ers in Pun­jab, was ar­rested by the state po­lice af­ter ex­ten­sive anal­y­sis of more than 10,000 Face­book ac­counts of Sikh rad­i­cals ac­tive in var­i­ous coun­tries of Europe, sources have told HT.

Po­lice have claimed that the killings were car­ried out by ele­ments backed by Pak­istan’s spy agency ISI and Khal­is­tani sep­a­ratist ele­ments.

Jo­hal, known widely by the nick­name Jaggi, ran an out­fit called ‘Never For­get 1984’ in the UK, and was on the radar of the in­tel­li­gence wing of Pun­jab Po­lice for the past more than one year. But his role ac­tu­ally came un­der the scan­ner af­ter a source in the UK pro­vided the Pun­jab po­lice with “vague in­for­ma­tion” about a key man ‘Jo­hal’ as the one of the con­spir­a­tors in the killings, it is learnt.

Cops in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said it was af­ter this in­for­ma­tion that a bat­tery of 100 in­tel­li­gence wing staff started scan­ning through Face­book move­ment of Jo­hal, who lives in Dum­bar­ton in Scot­land’s West Dun­bar­ton­shire coun­cil area.

“We vis­ited ev­ery per­son who had made a com­ment on fiery posts of Jo­hal en­dors­ing Khal­is­tan and other such is­sues. Some key rad­i­cals were ze­roed in on, and by us­ing our sources in the UK we kept on track­ing Jo­hal’s links with other groups. It was found that he was ac­tively as­so­ci­ated with the Khal­is­tan Lib­er­a­tion Force (KLF) and knew some pro-khal­isanti forces in Pak­istan as well,” said a se­nior of­fi­cer who did not want to be named.

The cops added, though, that this was not the only in­for­ma­tion based on which Jo­hal was ar­rested in Rama Mandi town of Jalandhar on Novem­ber 4. He had ar­rived in In­dia on Oc­to­ber 2 for his mar­riage in Jalandhar. Jo­hal had also vis­ited In­dia on April 4 this year and re­cently vis­ited the US, Canada and France too.

Sources in the po­lice said he used an email ac­count, Guri_420@hot­mail.com, which had vi­tal clues. UN­RAV­EL­LING THE LINK “His in­volve­ment was once again ver­i­fied from the ar­rest of Jimmy Singh, a Jammu res­i­dent who re­cently re­turned to In­dia from the UK af­ter spend­ing many years there and was ar­rested on Novem­ber 1 from the Delhi air­port,” said an of­fi­cer.

The ar­rests were made in a case reg­is­tered at Bagha­pu­rana in Moga in De­cem­ber last year, af­ter a pis­tol used in a mur­der crime was linked to Jimmy. Po­lice said Jo­hal and Jimmy had fur­ther re­vealed the names of men linked with the tar­geted killings. Later, one of those men named KLF chief Har­min­der Singh Min­too, who is in jail.

“Jo­hal used to rad­i­calise peo­ple and pro­vide hard­ware for the tar­geted killings,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial mon­i­tor­ing the probe. The probe of­fi­cials also claim to have found that Jo­hal knew iden­tity of the al­leged shooter, Hardeep Singh Shera. But it is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated if he had met Shera, who was ar­rested from Fate­hgarh Sahib a few days ago.

Mean­while, a lo­cal court in Bagha­pu­rana on Tues­day ex­tended the po­lice re­mand of Jo­hal till Novem­ber 17.

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