Gangster-turned-terrorist Harvinder Singh Sandhu, alias Rinda, who was named in at least 10 terror-related cases in Punjab, died at a hospital in Pakistan’s Lahore, senior state police and intelligence officials said on Saturday.

A member of the pro-Khalistan terrorist group Babar Khalsa International (BKI), Rinda played a key role in helping Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) smuggle drugs and weapons into Punjab from across the border, a senior Punjab police officer said. . He was also named as the mastermind of the RPG attack on the Punjab Intelligence Police headquarters in Mohali in May.

“Though the exact cause of his death is not yet known, the information we are getting from central agencies is that Rinda, a heroin addict, was being treated for a drug overdose at the hospital,” a senior state police official said on condition. on anonymity, calling Rinda’s death a “huge relief” for Punjab.

A senior intelligence official said the hand of the ISI in Rinda’s death cannot be ruled out.

“He died on Friday. The ISI could also be behind his death as he was not sharing cordial relations with BKI chief Wadava Singh Babar in recent times,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

A resident of Amritsar’s Tarn Taran area, Rinda was first arrested in 2008 following a fight during a family dispute, officials said. After coming in contact with criminals during his time in jail, Rinda shifted his base to Nanded in Maharashtra. He moved to Pakistan in 2020 using fake passports after coming into contact with pro-Khalistan terror groups where he was provided security cover, a second intelligence source said.

“After another face of terrorism in Khalistan, Dr. Harmeet Singh, was killed near Lahore in 2020, there were reports that ISI was using Rinda to fulfill its objectives. Rinda has strong and old contacts in Punjab and has become Pakistan’s key arm for Punjab plans,” the second official said.

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