NIA crackdown targets the nexus between foreign-based Khalistani terrorists and criminals based out of India.
Khalistani ideologue Lucky Khokhar aka Denis – a close associate of Canada-based designated terrorist Arshdeep Singh aka Arsh Dall – has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday.
He is also associated with gangster Lawrence Bishnoi gang. The agency has also arrested five others following searches, it said.
On Wednesday, the NIA carried out searches at 76 locations in eight states on premises linked to gangsters associated with terror groups and foreign-based drug smugglers.
Others arrested following raids in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, UP, Delhi-NCR, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh include associates of gangsters Lawrance Bishnoi, Jaggu Bhagwanpuria and Goldy Brar.
Besides Khokhar, the NIA also arrested Lakhvir Singh, Harpreet, Dalip Bishnoi, Surinder aka Chiku Chaudhary and Hari Om aka Titu.
Khokhar, a resident of Punjab’s Bhatinda, was nabbed from Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar on Tuesday, an NIA spokesperson said.
“Khokhar was in direct and frequent contact with Arsh Dala in Canada, and had carried out recruitment for him and received funds from him for carrying out terror-related activities,” the official said.
“He had provided arms and ammunition to Arsh Dala’s associates in Punjab on his directions, which were also used for carrying out the recent killing in Jagraon, Punjab on directions of Arsh Dala,” he further said.
While Hari Om was arrested on Tuesday, Lakhvir Singh was nabbed a day later in connection with a case registered against them and their associates in August last year for allegedly attempting to motivate and recruit youth for terror activities by using social media.
The agency said that the accused used social media to ‘publicize’ their crimes to create fear among the general public.
Nine weapons were recovered from Lakhvir’s possession. He is a notorious criminal and an associate of Chhotu Ram Bhaat, who was earlier arrested in the case.
The NIA has so far arrested nine accused, including Kaushal Choudhary, Amit Dagar, Sukhpreet Singh, Bhupi Rana, Neeraj Bawana, Naveen Bali and Sunil Balyan, in this case, as per the official.
According to the NIA, Chaudhrary and Bishnoi, are known associates of gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi and Jaggu Bhagwanpuria and Canada-based criminal, Goldy Brar.
“They were arrested for raising funds, recruiting youth and carrying out terrorist acts on behalf of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang,” the official said.
Chaudhry faces several charges under the NDPS Act, and for attempt to murder and extortion. He has been involved in illegal liquor contracts, smuggling and extortion from liquor and mining contractors in Haryana and has been one of the main financers of terror-gangster syndicates.
Dalip Bishnoi is a habitual criminal having 13 cases against him. “He has been one of the main financers of this terror gang and was providing logistics support to the gangs in Punjab and Rajasthan,” the official said.
The NIA investigation has revealed that many criminals, who were leading gangsters in India, had “fled” to countries like Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia and were “planning their terror and criminal acts” from there, in association with criminals lodged in jails in different states.
“These groups were carrying out targeted killings and raising funds for their nefarious activities through smuggling of drugs and weapons, hawala and extortions,” the official said.
NIA had registered a suo moto case on August 20 last year against seven people, including Harwinder Singh aka Rinda, Lakhbir Singh Sandhu aka Landa, and Arshdeep Singh aka Arsh Dala.
One person, Deepak Ranga, was earlier arrested in the case by NIA.
According to the NIA, Khokhar was working for Dala, who has been involved in smuggling arms, ammunition, explosives and IEDs across international and inter-state borders in India for several Khalistani terror outfits, including the Khalistan Liberation Force, Babbar Khalsa International and International Sikh Youth Federation.
The NIA had arrested 10 accused, including Lawrence Bishnoi, Jaggu Bhagwanpuria, Kala Jatheri, Kala Rana, Joginder Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Raju Basoudi, Anil Chippi, Naresh Yadav, and Shahbaz Ansari.