NIA Crackdown On Terror Gang Syndicate; Searches 50 Locations

Cracking its whip on organized terror gangs, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday carried out searches at over 50 locations across north India.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 12 September, 2022 4:15 pm IST

In a major crackdown against the nexus between terrorists, gangsters, drug smugglers and traffickers based in India and abroad, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday carried out searches at 50 locations in several states.

The searches included the premises of jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi and Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar, who are both accused of the murder of popular Punjabi singer and Congress leader Sidhu Moosewala.

An NIA spokesperson here said that the anti-terror probe agency carried out searches at 50 locations in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and the Delhi-NCR region to dismantle and disrupt the emerging nexus between terrorists, gangsters, and drug smugglers or traffickers based in India and abroad.

The action comes in the wake of two cases being taken over by the NIA. These cases were registered by the Delhi Police on August 26.

The official said that some of the gang leaders and their associates based in India and abroad, who were spearheading and carrying out such terror and criminal activities were identified and booked.

The official said that in a bid to dismantle these transnational terror and crime networks, the NIA conducted searches at 50 locations in Punjab’s Fazilka, Faridkot, Sri Muktsar Sahib, Moga, Taran Taran, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Mohali districts, while in Haryana it carried out searches in East Gurugram, Bhiwani, Yamuna Nagar, Sonepat and Jhajjar districts.

According to the official, the agency sleuths also conducted searches in the Rajasthan districts of Hanumangarh and Ganganagar, as well as the Delhi-NCR districts of Dwarka, Outer North, North West, North East, and Shahdara.

The official said that the agency sleuths carried out searches at the premises of Bishnoi in Muktsar Sahab and Brar’s premises in Fazilka. Brar is the mastermind of the murder of Moosewala on May 29 in Punjab, while Bishnoi is one of the main conspirators in the case. Bishnoi is currently lodged in Mohali jail.

Besides the searches at the premises of the two, the agency also carried out searches at the premises of Jaggu Bhagwanpuria, Varinder Pratap aka Kala Rana, Kala Jathedi, Vikram Brar, Gaurav Patyal aka Lucky Patyal (who was earlier arrested in Armenia), Neeraj Bawana, Koushal Chaudhary, Tillu Tajpuria, Amit Dagar, Deepak Kumar aka Tinu, Sandeep aka Bandar, Umesh aka Kala, Irfan aka Cheenu Pahalwan, Ashim aka Hashim Baba, Sachin Bhanja and their associates, the official said.

The NIA official said that during the searches they recovered six pistols, one revolver and one shotgun, along with ammunition. “NIA also seized drugs, cash, incriminating documents, digital devices, details of Benami property, threat letters, etc.,” the official said.

The official said that the recent sensational crimes and extortion calls by criminal syndicates and gangsters to businessmen, professionals, including doctors, etc., had created a widespread scare among the people. “These gangs were using cyber-space to publicise these crimes to create terror among the general public at large,” the official said.

According to the official, the NIA investigations revealed that such criminal acts were not “isolated local incidents”, but rather “a deep-rooted conspiracy amongst terrorists, gangsters, and drug smuggling cartels and networks operating from both within and outside the country”.

“Many gang leaders and members had fled from India and were now operating from foreign countries, including Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, Australia, etc.” the NIA official said. The official added that “Ongoing probes by the NIA in cases being investigated by it, such as the killing of Shaurya Chakra Awardee Comrade Balwinder Singh in Punjab, also revealed that most of these conspiracies were being hatched from inside jails of different states and were being executed by an organised network of operatives based abroad.”

The official said that its preliminary probe had revealed that these gangs were carrying out targeted killings, including those of prominent people, to terrorise the general public to extort money for running and promoting their criminal syndicates.

The official said that these gangs were also raising funds to carry out such criminal activities through the smuggling of drugs and weapons.

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