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Ludhiana court blast: Dismissed cop was part of drug racket run by Nigerian kingpin from jail

The Indian Express explains how the dismissed cop, as per the investigations of the anti-drug STF, was a part of a well-oiled drug racket that ran from Ludhiana Central Jail with a Nigerian national as its kingpin.

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana |
December 26, 2021 8:55:53 am
The sealed blast site at the court complex in Ludhiana (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The deceased in Ludhiana court blast, identified as Gagandeep Singh (30) was a dismissed head constable of Khanna police who was arrested for smuggling heroin by Punjab Police’s anti-drug Special Task Force (STF) in August 2019 along with his two accomplices. After spending two years in jail, he had come out on bail in September this year. He allegedly carried explosives inside the court that led to the blast, Thursday, injuring six others.

The Indian Express explains how the dismissed cop, as per the investigations of the anti-drug STF, was a part of a well-oiled drug racket that ran from Ludhiana Central Jail with a Nigerian national as its kingpin.

THE DRUG CASE

A team of anti-drug STF Ludhiana range led by inspector Harbans Singh had arrested Gagandeep Singh alias Gaggi, a resident of Mohalla Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar of Lalheri road in Khanna, and his two accomplices — Amandeep Singh alias Mauli and Vikas Kumar alias Lara of Ludhiana city — on August 11, 2019.

First, Amandeep and Vikas were arrested from Sector 39 of Ludhiana when, according to the STF, they were travelling in their Hyundai i20 vehicle. On checking, 400 gm of heroin was recovered from their vehicle and an FIR was registered under the Sections 21, 29, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act at STF police station in Mohali.

During interrogation, both revealed that they used to get drugs from Gagandeep Singh, who used to source heroin and other drugs from Delhi to sell it further to addicts and other suppliers. The STF then arrested Gagandeep and recovered 385 gm heroin from his possession. A total of 785 gm heroin was recovered from the trio. At the time of his arrest, Gagandeep was posted as head munshi at Khanna Sadar police station. He was later dismissed.


THE NIGERIAN LINK

According to the report prepared by the STF (copy with The Indian Express), the dismissed cop during his interrogation told police that he came in contact with the Nigerian national — Harrison Chenew alias William alias Ajuka Ikechukwu — in 2019 after an FIR was registered against him on March 20, 2019 at Khanna Sadar police station for alleged recovery of 1.5 kg heroin. The Nigerian was living in Delhi at that time.

Gagandeep, who was then posted as munshi at the same police station, told police during interrogation that during same time, Amandeep Singh alias Mauli of Ludhiana who was also booked in another drug case at Khanna Sadar police station, also started contacting him, asking him to arrange heroin. He then contacted William and promised to help him in getting bail in return of heroin. The cop said that he started the heroin trade for money.

Gagandeep Singh

“An FIR was registered against a Nigerian national — Harrison Chenew alias William — at Khanna Sadar police station in March 2019 for recovery of 1.5 kg heroin. He was arrested and sent to Ludhiana jail. I came in contact with William during the probe of the case and via him I also contacted others like him via Facebook who were involved in drug trade. Meanwhile, a man — Amandeep Singh alias Mauli — against whom another drug case was registered at Khanna Sadar police station for recovery of 40 gm heroin also called me and asked to meet. He was demanding heroin from me, so I contacted William and promised to get him bailed out in lieu of the drug. A day later, William sent 85 gm heroin as sample via unidentified persons who delivered me the packet at Khanna bus stand. I handed over that heroin to Amandeep Singh outside Khanna Sadar police station,” said the dismissed cop during his interrogation.

He further said that after this first consignment, he continued to arrange heroin from William, in greed of money and kept selling it further to Amandeep and other persons.

“Amandeep demanded more heroin from me so I contacted William again. I was getting heroin for Rs 400 per gm. William again sent me one kg heroin via his suppliers at Khanna bus stand and I sold it to Amandeep again. In greed of money, I started selling heroin,” said the cop.

LUDHIANA JAIL RACKET

The cop in his interrogation further said that since he had many customers in line who wanted to buy heroin, he told William that he will help him in getting bailed out but only if he would arrange heroin for him and that too at lesser rates. According to the STF report, the Nigerian then started arranging heroin for Gagandeep via his contacts in Delhi even as he was lodged at Ludhiana Central Jail.

“He (the Nigerian national) started arranging heroin from me through his contacts in Delhi while being lodged in Ludhiana jail. His men used to supply me heroin at Khanna bus stand at lesser rates which I further used to sell to Amandeep. The heroin which has been recovered from me was also procured via William,” said Gagandeep in his interrogation, as per the STF report.

Apart from the drug smuggling case, William was also booked in another case of mobile phone recovery in prison. He was also subsequently interrogated by STF, after Gagandeep had named him, during which he had said that he came to India on business visa and that he did not know any drug smugglers in India. He had also refused to recognise Gagandeep and had denied having any mobile phone in jail.

DISMISSED COP’S BACKGROUND

A graduate from AS College, Khanna, and a resident of Mohalla Guru Teg Bahadur, Lalheri road, Khanna, Gagandeep had joined Punjab Police in December 2011 as a constable. Till 2014, he was posted as naib reader with SP (D), Khanna, and then promoted as head constable in 2015. From 2015 to 2017, he was posted as a reader with SP (HQ) Khanna. He was the head munshi at Machhiwara police station from 2017 to 2018. From 2018 till his arrest, he was posted as head munshi at Khanna Sadar police station.

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