The National Investigation Agency on Thursday said that it has taken over the investigation into the murder of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker Ravinder Gosain (pictured above), who was shot dead near his house in Ludhiana, Punjab, on October 17.

Two unidentified assailants had fired two bullets in his neck and back before fleeing the spot. Gosain was the head of the Raghunath Nagar Mohan Shakha of the RSS in Ludhiana. He also held a position with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s district unit.

The agency​ said that it had taken two suspects – Ramandeep Singh and Hardeep Singh – into custody from the Ludhiana Police on November 22. “These accused persons have admitted their involvement in the previous eight incidents of murder or attempted murder in Punjab which have happened since January 2016,” the agency said. “Targets in these incidents generally were members of the RSS and Hindu organisations.”

The murders, the investigation agency said, had been planned by Sikh extremists in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. “The investigation conducted so far has revealed channelling of funds from foreign countries for execution of the incidents,” the NIA said. The accused, it added, were ideologically brainwashed and incited “by their mentors settled abroad”.

The investigators also accused the two of murdering Christian pastor Sultan Masih in Ludhiana in July. Like Gosain, the pastor was also shot dead by two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants at Salem Tabri locality in Ludhiana.