New Delhi [India]: In a first-of-its-kind initiative and part of a new strategy to hit out at the finances of terrorist organisations, a special NIA court has forfeited the seized property of four aides of Pakistan-based listed ‘Khalistani’ terrorist Harwinder Singh Sandhu alias Rinda, said the agency on Thursday.
The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Panchkula (Haryana) took the decision.
“This is the first time the NIA had proactively sought the properties of terrorists to be ‘forfeited to the State’ under section 26 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)Act after being attached as proceeds of terrorism,” the NIA said in a statement.
“Forfeiture of properties is a major new tool in NIA’s strategy to dismantle the terrorist ecosystem in the country,” it added.
The NIA has adopted this strategy to squeeze the financial resources of the terrorist outfits as well as their operatives and associates, said the agency.
The NIA has already attached several terrorist-linked properties and the process of their forfeiture is underway in various different courts.
In the instant case, the NIA special court has approved the terror agency’s application seeking the forfeiture of the property, including Rs 7,80,000 in cash and a Toyota Innova Car (DL1VB-7869), which was used by the accused for transporting arms, ammunition, explosives and narcotics across India.
The Haryana Police had, on May 5, 2022, seized three Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), one pistol with two magazines, 31 rounds of ammunition and Rs 1.30 lakh in cash from the four accused, Gurpreet Singh ali Gopi, Amandeep Singh alias Deepa, Parminder Singh alias Pinder and Bhupinder Singh.
They were going to deliver the consignment to Adilabad, Telangana, in the Innova car, in which a specially designed cavity had been created to hide the arms and cash.
A case was registered at Madhubhan Police Station in Haryana under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, sections 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substance Act 1908 and section 25 of the Arms Act.
On May 24, 2022, the NIA took over the investigations in the case.
Investigations by NIA have revealed that the four men had received multiple consignments of arms, ammunition, explosives and narcotics, which were sent via drones from Pakistan by wanted terrorist Harwinder Singh Sandhu.
“The supplies were delivered at pre-determined locations near the Indo-Pak border. Further investigations showed that Gurpreet Singh alias Gopi had earned a lot of money by smuggling arms, ammunition, explosives and narcotics,” said the anti-terror agency.
Extensive investigations led to the seizure of the Innova car and Rs 7,80,000 cash by the NIA on March 30 this year under the provisions of 25 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 after approvals of the competent authority.
“The NIA Special Court Panchkula after thorough consideration of the matter, has now ordered confirmation of the seizures and forfeited the said property under section 26 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 to the State on the grounds that the same constituted ‘proceeds of terrorism’,” said the NIA.
“Investigations in the case are continuing,” it added.