According to senior state police and intelligence officials, gangster-turned-terrorist Harvinder Singh Sandhu, alias Rinda, who has been implicated in at least ten terror-related cases in Punjab, passed away in a hospital in Lahore, Pakistan.
A senior Punjab Police officer claimed that Rinda, a terrorist affiliated with the pro-Khalistan Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), was instrumental in aiding Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) smuggle drugs and weapons into Punjab from the other side of the border. He was also named as the mastermind in the RPG attack on Punjab Police’s intelligence headquarters in Mohali in May.
“Though the exact reason behind his death is not known yet, the information we are getting from the central agencies is that Rinda, a heroin addict, was undergoing treatment for drug-overdose at a hospital,” the top state police official said on condition of anonymity, terming Rinda’s death as a “huge relief” for Punjab.
A senior intelligence official said ISI’s hand in Rinda’s death could not be ruled out. He and BKI chief Wadawa Singh Babbar had recently developed a strained relationship, raising the possibility that ISI was possibly responsible for his assassination,” the official said speaking on condition of anonymity.
A resident of Amritsar’s Tarn Taran district, Rinda’s was first arrested in 2008 after a scuffle during a family feud, officials said. After getting in touch with criminals during his time in prison, Rinda shifted his base to Maharashtra’s Nanded. He moved to Pakistan in 2020 using fake passports after getting in touch with pro-Khalistan terror groups where he was provided security cover, a second intelligence official said.