Five members of the gang operated by Canada-based designated terrorist Arshdeep Singh alias Arsh Dalla were on Monday arrested by Delhi Police, which claimed they were planning to kill Punjabi singer Elly Mangat.
Arshdeep has links with the banned terror outfit Khalistan Tiger Force and is wanted by the National Investigation Agency and the Punjab police for heinous crimes such as murder, extortion, targeted killings and running terror modules.
The accused have been identified as Rajpreet Singh, Virender Singh, Sachin Bhati, Arpit Dhankar and Susheel Pradhan, the police said
Rajpreet and Virender were arrested in Mayur Vihar after a brief exchange of fire in which Virender suffered a gunshot injury in his leg, officials said, adding the duo was planning to kill Punjabi singer Elly Mangat.
They had made an attempt in October in Bhatinda in Punjab, but failed as the singer was not found at home, they said.
Two revolvers, 13 live cartridges, a hand grenade and a stolen motorcycle were seized from them, police said. An FIR for an attempt to murder and under the Explosive Substances Act and the Arms Act have been registered against the accused, the police said.
Based on the disclosure made by them, three people, who were allegedly providing logistics to the gang, Sachin Bhati, Arpit Dhankar, and Susheel Pradhan, were also arrested, the police said.
The police received inputs that KTF terrorist Arshdeep Singh was planning some major terror strikes and targeted killings in the Delhi-NCR, the officials said.
On Sunday, a tip-off was received regarding two shooters of Arshdeep coming to Noida Link Road towards Akshardham temple, opposite Samachar Apartments, Mayur Vihar, around 11 pm to collect money and illegal weapons to commit some heinous crime, they said.
"A team deployed in the Mayur Vihar area spotted the accused coming on a bike. The team tried to stop them, but they fired indiscriminately at the personnel. Five rounds of bullet were fired by the accused, of which two hit the bullet-proof jacket of police personnel.
"In retaliation, the police team fired six rounds. During this exchange of fire, one of the accused, Virender Singh, sustained gunshot injury on his right leg," a senior police officer said, adding that both the accused were sent to LBS hospital for treatment after the encounter.
Preliminary interrogation revealed that Rajpreet and Virender were sharpshooters of Arshdeep. The accused persons were in regular contact with him, and at his behest, they were planning to carry out some major terror strikes and target killings in Delhi/NCR, police said.
They had killed one Paramjit Singh to "avenge" Arshdeep's brother's suicide.
In July, they were assigned to fire at Kavinder Kumar, a resident of Haridwar in Uttrakhand, as he was not willing to pay extortion money.
They were also directed to eliminate a criminal from Punjab, Navdeep Chatta, who was supposed to attend the court at Mukthsar Sahib, they said.
Canada-based gangster Arshdeep, a native of Dala village in Moga, is wanted by the NIA and the Punjab police.
He is accused of being involved in many targeted killings that took place in the border state of Punjab along with supplying militant hardware including RDX, IEDs, AK-47 and other arms and ammunition to modules in the state after importing them from Pakistan.
A red corner notice was issued in May 2022 against him. In January this year, he was declared a designated terrorist by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
"Arshdeep is very close to Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a designated terrorist under UAPA, and runs terror modules on his behalf," the ministry had said.
India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. He was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on June 18 this year in British Columbia. Canada-India ties have been strained following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations in September of the "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing.
India has rejected Trudeau's allegations as "absurd" and "motivated".
According to officials, many terrorists and gangsters have their bases in Canada and have been involved in heinous crimes in India including the killing of popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.