Home » UK Indian Embassy attack: Of 15 lookout notices, NIA withdraws 3 over ‘mistaken identity’

UK Indian Embassy attack: Of 15 lookout notices, NIA withdraws 3 over ‘mistaken identity’

MONTHS AFTER zeroing in on 15 suspects, publicly releasing their photographs, and issuing lookout notices for them for alleged involvement in the violence at the Indian High Commission in London during a protest on March 19 last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has now determined that at least three persons from Punjab were wrongly identified.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued Look Out Circulars (LOCs) against 15 people, who were identified from five videos of the violence. These videos were procured by an NIA team during its visit to the United Kingdom in May last year to investigate the incident and a suspected terror link involving Pakistan’s ISI. In the videos, people can be seen gathering outside the Indian High Commission in London and subsequently indulging in violence.

Upon the team’s return to India, the NIA shared the videos and photographs of 45 suspects in public domain, along with an appeal to help identify them. The agency, sources said, received around 850 calls in response; the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and the immigration department also helped with the identification. The latter is learnt to have helped identify some of the 15 individuals with the help of face recognition technology, and LOCs were then issued against them.

According to sources, of the 15 suspects, three were detained recently and handed over to the NIA. But after a thorough investigation, the NIA did not find anything to link them to the March 19 violence. “The investigation team, after discussing with the  legal team and then Director-General (NIA) Dinkar Gupta, decided to close their LOCs,” said a source.

An LOC issued by the MHA serves to prevent the person named from leaving the country.

Festive offer

On March 19, 2023, the Indian High Commission in London was attacked by a group of about 50 people, who have been accused of committing criminal trespass, disrespecting the Indian national flag, destruction of public property, and injuring High Commission officials. The orchestrators of the attack, as identified in the FIR lodged by an officer of the High Commission, include Gurcharan Singh of Dal Khalsa, UK; Avtar Singh Khanda from the Khalistan Liberation Force; and Jasvir Singh.

“Khanda died in Birmingham in June and the NIA is in touch with the concerned department to get his death certificate for their case file,” an official said.

During its investigation into the UK incident, the NIA questioned Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh and nine of his associates in Assam’s Dibrugarh jail after they were found to have been in touch with Khanda, who is alleged to have instigated the protesters by shouting anti-India and pro-Khalistan slogans. “On August 1, 2023, raids were conducted at multiple places by the NIA in Punjab and Haryana after identifying some of the attackers. The raids led to seizure of digital data containing information related to the suspects,” an NIA official said.