The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday said that it has taken over the probe in the murder case of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who was shot dead by two bikers in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district on October 16 last year, reports PTI.

According to NIA, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the anti-terror agency to take over the investigation of the case considering the gravity of the offence and its inter-state and international aftermath.

The case was earlier being investigated by Punjab Police after a report under sections of the IPC and the Arms Act was registered in Bhikhiwind police station on the basis of Sandhu’s wife Jagdish Kaur’s statement.

According to a NIA spokesperson, the initial investigation by Punjab Police revealed that Sandhu was executed under a conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based Khalistani Terrorist Lakvir Singh Rode and his handlers in Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI.

The killing was executed by Sukhmeet Pal Singh of Gurdaspur, a gangster turned terrorist, the NIA official added.

Sandhu, who fought terrorism in Punjab for years and faced at least 16 terror attacks during the height of Khalistani militancy in the state, was awarded Shaurya Chakra in 1993 by the Government of India.

On January 31, 1990 militants attacked the Sandhu family for the first time. The family had faced the deadliest attack on September 30, 1990 when around 200 terrorists surrounded their house from all sides and attacked them continuously for five hours with deadly weapons, including rocket launchers, as per the award citation.

In compliance with the Home Ministry’s directions, the NIA has re-registered the case and officially taken over the Sandhu murder investigation.