Gangster-terrorist nexus: NIA detains several suspects in multi-state raid

New Delhi : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday detained several suspects during a multi-state crackdown on the terrorist-gangster-drug smuggler nexus, connected with ‘listed terrorist’ Arsh Dalla and many dreaded gangsters.

State Police forces provided the necessary support and assistance in the raids.

The NIA said that a total of 53 locations were raided during the day-long operation, which started early this morning. Pistols, ammunition, large numbers of digital devices and incriminating material, were seized during the raids that spanned the six States of Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and the UT of Chandigarh.

Besides Dalla, others under the NIA scanner in these raids, were notorious gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi, Sukha Duneke, Harry Maur, Narender alias Lali, Kala Jatheri, Deepak Tinu.

These were the seventh in the series of such crackdowns launched by NIA following the registration of five cases since August 2022, including the two new cases registered against organised criminal gangs in July 2023. The cases relate to conspiracies of targeted killings, terror funding of pro-Khalistan outfits, extortion, etc by the gangsters, many of whom are lodged in various jails or are operating from various foreign countries, including Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, Portugal and Australia.

“The focus of today’s raids, aimed at dismantling the terror-gangster-drug smuggler nexus, was on weapon suppliers, financiers and logistics providers associated with various hardcore gangs and their operatives. These gangs are working with drug smugglers and terrorists based out of other countries, including Pakistan, UAE, Canada, Portugal, ” said the official.

The NIA investigations have revealed that the conspiracies were being hatched in jails of different states and were being executed by an organised network of operatives based abroad. Notable among such conspiracies were the sensational killing of Maharashtra builder Sanjay Biyani, mining trader Mehal Singh and international Kabaddi player Sandeep Nangal Ambia in Punjab last year.

“Many of the criminals and gangsters who were earlier leading gangs in India have fled abroad in recent years and are now pursuing their terror and violence related activities from there, as per NIA investigations. These criminals have been engaged in planning and commissioning serious crimes, including contract and revenge killings, in association with criminals lodged in jails across India. 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 extortions, ” the NIA said.

It said that the spotlight on these gangs has become sharper after reports of several prisons becoming havens of the deadly nexus and hubs of gang wars, which recently resulted in violence and murder inside Goindwal Jail.

Some of the locations where raids were conducted on Wednesday included: Amritsar, Moga, Fazilka , Ludhiana, Mohali, Faridkot, Barnala, Bhatinda, Ferozpur, SAS Nagar, Amritsar, and Jalandhar districts of Punjab; Rohtak, Sirsa, Fatehabad and Faridabad districts of Haryana; Sri Ganga Nagar, Jhunjhunu, Hanumangarh and Jodhpur districts of Rajasthan; Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh; Dehradun and Udhamsingh Nagar districts of Uttarakhand; besides south-east district of Delhi/NCR and UT of Chandigarh.

The NIA had earlier conducted similar raids at over 370 locations, leading to seizure of 38 arms, including four lethal weapons, along with 1129 rounds of ammunition. NIA has so far frozen 87 banks accounts and attached 13 properties, besides seizing 331 digital devices, 418 documents and two vehicles. Two absconders have been declared as designated individual terrorists, and 15 accused declared as proclaimed offenders and Red Corner Notices (RCNs) have been issued against nine others as a result of NIA’s concerted efforts to destroy and dismantle the deadly nexus between terrorists like Dalla and dreaded gangsters and drug smugglers.

Further investigations are on to dismantle such terror, violence and extortion networks as well as their funding and support infrastructure.