Amritsar: The Punjab police on Saturday claimed to have made the second arrest in connection with the Amritsar blast case in which three persons were killed. The man who allegedly threw a grenade on a religious congregation at Nirankari Bhavan last Sunday has been nabbed from Khayala village.

Identified as Avtar Singh, the accused has been sent to police remand till December 1 by a court in Ajnala. It is alleged that Avtar Singh threw the grenade. He is a resident of village Chak Mishri Khan, Lopoke (Ajnala), Amritsar. His links have also been traced to Harmeet Singh Happy alias PhD, the self- styled chief of ISI-backed KLF, based in Pakistan, said Director General of Police Suresh Arora.

He also said that two pistols (.32 bore), one of them US made, which the perpetrators were carrying on the day of attack have been recovered along with four magazines and 25 live rounds.

It is to be noted here that police have already arrested Bikramjit Singh, an operative of militant organisation Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) who was allegedly driving the motorcycle on that day.

“Happy has emerged as the most active leader of outfits working under the watch and directions of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), which is determined to spread terrorism in the border state of Punjab by radicalising poor and gullible youths of the state and motivating them to carry out terrorist actions,” DGP Arora claimed.

The DGP said that initial investigations revealed that a person identified as Javed, who is Pakistan-based, was allegedly involved in misguiding the accused to carry out the terrorist act.

“Avtar, who is a quack, was contacted on WhatsApp a few months ago by one Javed, who claimed to be a Pakistani national from Dubai. The so-called Pakistani national, who spoke in Punjabi, first contacted him on the basis of a reference for seeking consultation for his back problem,” the DGP said.

Thereafter, he started discussing Sikh issues with him and motivated him to target the so called “enemies of the Sikh ‘quom’ (community)”, the official said.

A few months ago, Javed put Avtar in touch with Happy who tried to motivate him to carry out terrorist acts in Punjab on the lines of targeted killings of RSS and Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS) workers in Punjab in 2016-17.

According to preliminary investigations, Avtar Singh claimed that about two months ago, he contacted his maternal cousin Paramjit Singh Baba, based in Italy, to arrange weapons “to settle scores” with some people of his village, police said.

Baba put him in touch with Happy, based in Pakistan, who Avtar had identified as the same person introduced to him by Javed. Happy promised Avtar that he will arrange weapons for him, the DGP said.

Avtar along with Bikramjit retrieved a bag containing two .32 bore pistols, four magazines, twenty-five cartridges and one hand grenade near Majitha on November 4 and allegedly carried out the crime, police said.

During investigation, Avtar said that he was staunchly opposed to ‘Derawad’ and all the self-styled gurus of sects such as the Dera Sacha Sauda, they said.

Rejecting claims of the families of the two arrested that they have been falsely implicated, the DGP said, we have enough evidence against them. We do not believe in false implications. We have recovered weapons in the presence of the duty magistrate, he said.

Both the accused in this case had no past criminal record, he noted.

The Sunday incident had taken place inside the Nirankari Bhavan’s prayer hall at Adliwal village near Amritsar’s Rajasansi. Three persons including a preacher were killed and over 20 injured in the attack by two-motorcycle borne men which the police treated as a terrorist act.

(Inputs from PTI)