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Amid row, NIA likely to defer Canada visit to probe attack on Indian Mission

Amid a row between Canada and India over the killing of Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday held a meeting and are learnt to be planning to postpone a scheduled visit by its investigators to Canada next month as part of the probe into the attack on the Indian High Commission in the country, allegedly by pro-Khalistan activists, The Indian Express has learnt.

“Senior NIA officials discussed the issues on Tuesday afternoon and are planning to postpone their visit to Canada since the situation is not appropriate for their investigation,” an official with knowledge of the development said.

In the meeting, NIA officials are learnt to have also discussed the procedure to get Canada-based designated terrorist Arshdeep Singh Gill of KTF extradited.

Must Read | Khalistan terror outfit chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar, one of India’s most wanted, killed in Canada

In March this year, Khalistan supporters had protested outside the Indian High Commission in Canada — they shouted pro-Khalistan slogans and allegedly assaulted Indian-origin journalists present there.

Sources said besides the violence in Canada, cases in connection with violence at the Indian High Commission in London during a protest on March 19 and the attack on the Indian consulate in San Francisco on July 2 are registered with NIA. Two NIA teams have already visited London and San Francisco as part of their probe and the third team has already moved a file before the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for approval of their visit to Canada.

Also read | Among key organisers of pro-Khalistan event is man on ‘wanted’ list in Punjab

A source in MHA said the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) is helping the NIA take legal action against Arshdeep. “Besides probing banned pro-Khalistan groups, we are also investigating cases involving Punjab gangs and their nexus with terror groups. We have filed a chargesheet against Arshdeep,” a source said. “We have found crucial evidence against him [Arshdeep], substantiating that he and his associates are providing financial and logistics support, including sophisticated weapons, to gangs in India for terror cases and assassination of prominent persons.”

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On January 9, the MHA had declared Arshdeep a designated terrorist after it found his involvement in heinous crimes such as murder, extortion and targeted killings, besides terror activities. “A few months ago, R&AW had tracked Arshdeep’s location in Canada and had shared it with the intelligence agencies concerned,” a source in the intelligence agencies said.

In the meeting at the NIA headquarters, the issue of Arshdeep’s extradition was discussed, it is learnt.

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“Arshdeep is a key point for the gang members operating against jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi. He [Arshdeep] and his associates are supplying arms and ammunition at pre-decided locations with the help of drones in border areas of Punjab to create unrest in the state,” a source said.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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