NEW DELHI: The charge sheet submitted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a Delhi court mentions how Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) has “roped in” notorious gangsters-turned-terrorists like Harwinder Singh, Lakhbir Singh, Arshdeep, among others, for using their criminal network for planning and carrying out terror attacks and targeted killings in Delhi, Punjab and other parts of the country.
“These gangsters-turned-terrorists — Harwinder Singh a.k.a Rinda (based in Pakistan), Lakhbir Singh alias Landa (based in Canada), Arshdeep a.k.a Arsh Dalla (based in Canada), etc. — have further engaged their criminal network and unemployed youth not only in Punjab but also those from neighbouring states by offering them either huge amount of money or promise of settling them abroad for receiving, dumping, transporting and further making them available to end users (executioners) to execute the sensational and horrendous high-profile killings which are akin to the then Bombay underworld terror attacks in last decades of 20th century,” the charge sheet alleges.
The NIA in its investigation has established that incarcerated gangster Lawrence Bishnoi along with his associates residing abroad are not only indulging in extortion activities but also conspiring to target prominent socio-religious and political persons at the behest of Pro-Khalistani terrorist organisations like Babbar Khalsa International (BKI).
“The part of the extorted money is being used for terror funding and for arranging sophisticated weapons for executing terror acts in India and abroad. Members of Lawrence Bishnoi’s gang are further using cyberspace and social media to publicise their terror acts by posting video clips or by taking responsibility for their criminal/ terror activities to create deeper and widespread terror among the people at large,” the charge sheet states.
Notably, the Bishnoi gang operates in northern India, mainly in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and even abroad in countries like Italy, Armenia, Canada, the US, Dubai, the Philippines, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. In the age of social media, these gangs flaunt their dominance and attract millions of followers through various social media handles, attracting more youngsters to join their gang.
Moreover, the charge sheet further states that Punjab has around 553 km of international border with Pakistan and there are 456 villages within the distance of 5 km from the international border. “Its proximity to Jammu and Kashmir further adds a serious dimension to its security as there have been continuous sinister efforts to disturb the unity and integrity of the country of the Jammu and Kashmir area. In recent times, there have been serious attempts by Pakistan to revive the secessionist movement of Khalistan through a series of terrorist acts aimed at creating unrest in Punjab, vitiating social harmony and disturbing peace in the state,” the charge sheet claims.
The investigation agency says that there have been many instances where the arrested terror module members have revealed the planning of terror attacks generally by terror groups/ individuals based abroad and especially the “Pak-based Pro-Khalistan ones”. “In recent years, the supply of sophisticated militant hardware comprising hand grenades, tiffin bombs, IEDs, RDX, RPGs, pistols etc., has been ramped up through the cross-border smuggling network for targeted killings,” the NIA said in its charge sheet.
NIA investigations revealed that in 2022 after the killing of Pradeep Kumar, a Dera Sacha Sauda follower, Satinderjit Singh a.k.a Goldy Brar in association with Lawrence Bishnoi and Landa, a BKI associate, threatened to kill five other Dera Sacha Sauda followers.