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Terrorist-gangster-smuggler nexus: NIA conducts raids at 53 locations in 6 states, finds conspiracies being hatched by gangsters in jails and foreign countries

In its statement, the NIA outlined that the prime focus of the raids conducted today was on "weapon suppliers, financiers and logistics providers associated with various hardcore gangs and their operatives."

Indian agencies have intensified the crackdown on the terrorist-gangster-smuggler nexus in the country. On Wednesday, September 27, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at 53 locations across the country in connection with the terrorist-gangster-drug smugglers nexus case. The probe agency informed that several suspects allegedly connected with ‘listed terrorist‘ Arshdeep Dalla alias Arsh Dalla among other dreaded gangsters. The NIA raided multiple locations in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and the UT of Chandigarh.

During the day-long multi-state operation, the probe agency seized pistols, ammunition, a huge number of digital devices and several incriminating materials. Besides Arsh Dalla who is based in Canada, others under the NIA scanner in the raids were notorious gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi, Sukhdeep Singh, alias Sukha Duneke, Harry Maur, Narender, Kala Jatheri, Deepak Tinu etc. It is notable that several of the gangs and gangsters have links with Khalistani terror groups.

In its statement, the NIA outlined that the prime focus of the raids conducted today was on “weapon suppliers, financiers and logistics providers associated with various hardcore gangs and their operatives.” The NIA added that several gangs are working in collusion with drug smugglers and terrorists based out of other countries, including Pakistan, UAE, Canada, Portugal etc.

Separate NIA teams started raids early Wednesday morning in close coordination with state police forces. During its investigation, the NIA found that the conspiracies under investigation were hatched in different state jails and were carried out by an organised network of “operatives” based abroad. Among such plots was last year’s sensational killings in Punjab of Maharashtra builder Sanjay Biyani, mining trader Mehal Singh, and international Kabaddi player Sandeep Nangal Ambia.

According to NIA investigations, numerous criminals and gangsters who formerly commanded gangs in India have fled outside the country and are currently carrying out terror and violence-related activities from there. The NIA added that these perpetrators have been involved in the planning and execution of heinous crimes, including contract and revenge killings, in collaboration with criminals imprisoned across India.

The cases under which the raids were conducted include targeted killings, terror funding of pro-Khalistan outfits, extortion, etc. by the gangsters. Several gangsters are currently in jails, and many others are operating from various foreign countries, including Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, Portugal and Australia.

“These groups have been carrying out targeted killings and raising funds for attacks and other nefarious activities through smuggling of drugs and weapons, hawala and extortion,” the NIA said.

The spotlight on these gangs has become sharper after reports of several Prisons becoming havens of the deadly nexus and hubs of gang wars,” the NIA continued.

As per the NIA’s statement, today’s raids took place in the Amritsar, Moga, Fazilka, Ludhiana, Mohali, Faridkot, Barnala, Bhatinda, Ferozpur, SAS Nagar, Amritsar, and Jalandhar districts of Punjab. In Haryana, several locations in Rohtak, Sirsa, Fatehabad, and Faridabad were raided. In Rajasthan, the NIA raided multiple locations in  Sri Ganga Nagar, Jhunjhunu, Hanumangarh, and Jodhpur.  Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Dehradun and Udhamsingh Nagar districts in Uttarakhand in addition to the South-east district of Delhi/ NCR and UT of Chandigarh.

As per NIA, the raids are still underway in three cases (RC 37/2022/NIA/DLI, RC 39/2022/NIA/DLI and RC 22/2023/NIA/DLI).

Following the registration of five cases since August 2022, including two new cases against Organised Criminal Gangs in July this year, this was the seventh in a series of similar crackdowns initiated by the NIA.

It is notable that previously, the agency raided over 370 places, resulting in the seizure of 38 firearms, including four fatal weapons, and 1,129 rounds of ammunition. It has frozen 87 bank accounts and attached 13 properties so far, in addition to confiscating 331 digital gadgets, 418 documents, and two vehicles. Two of the wanted accused have been identified as “designated individual terrorists” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 15 have been labelled “Proclaimed Offenders,” and nine have received Interpol Red Notices at the request of the NIA.

The NIA had registered a suo moto case (RC-37/2022/NIA/DLI) on August 20, 2022, under various sections of the IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 in connection with the terror activities of banned terrorist organisations in India. The agency has been cracking down on individual terrorist outfits and terrorists conspiring to smuggle terrorist hardware, such as arms, ammunition and explosives and raising funds for carrying out terrorist acts in India.

The NIA investigations in the case had revealed that several gangsters having nexus with individual ‘listed terrorist’ Arshdeep Singh Dala had entered into a criminal conspiracy to raise funds for Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF), a banned terrorist organisation. They were also engaged in smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives for the KTF from across the border.

Dala who has been operating from Canada for the last 3-4 years and has had many terrorist killings in Punjab over the last few years. He has been guiding and commissioning terrorist acts and also promoting terror, violence and large-scale extortion in India on behalf of the KTF.

Other two cases (RC 39/2022/NIA/DLI and RC 22/2023/NIA/DLI) are also linked to gangster-terror nexus naming gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, Goly Brar, Vikram Brar and others in which the accused are charged for assisting and facilitating different gang in targetted killings and extortions in Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. NIA has so far arrested 16 persons in the terror gangster conspiracy case.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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