A FORENSIC examination of last week’s blast inside a washroom at the Ludhiana district court complex has revealed the use of around 1.5 kg of RDX packed in a plastic container along with a significant amount of shrapnel, indicating the intention to cause significant damage and loss of life.
The Indian Express had reported on December 25 that the examination had initially been hampered as a water pipe had burst in the blast, washing away vital clues. “Experts worked on the spot over the next couple of days and managed to pick up some traces that turned out to be RDX,” sources said.
“Given that it is a military grade explosive, the evidence of it having come from across the border and the incident’s links with pro-Khalistan groups supported by Pakistan have become stronger,” a senior officer in the security establishment said.
The new findings in the case come at a time when security agencies have flagged renewed activity of pro-Khalistan terror groups in Punjab, with regular drops of arms, ammunition, explosives and IEDs being detected from across the border using drones. In the recent past alone, 43 drone sightings have been reported by police close to the border near Amritsar and Pathankot.
According to Punjab Police, the lone casualty in last Thursday’s blast, which injured six others, was the man carrying the explosives. He has been identified as Gagandeep Singh (30), a former policeman who was sacked two years ago after being booked in a case of drug smuggling.
Gagandeep’s charred body was identified based on a tattoo and a mobile phone recovered from the spot. “While the phone was completely destroyed, NSG (National Security Guard) personnel were able to recover the memory card and dongle. During forensic examination, it gave vital clues not only about the identity of the perpetrator but also his links,” the senior officer said.
According to police, Gagandeep was dismissed from service after his arrest in August 2019 and spent two years in jail before being bailed out in September this year. A Punjab Police officer said the “evidence suggests he was not an expert in assembling bombs and committed some mistake, setting off the blast (on the second floor)”.
On Saturday, Punjab DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya had said that Gagandeep came in contact with pro-Khalistan elements during his time in jail, and there were indications that the blast was linked to Khalistani and narco-terror elements operating from Pakistan.