In a major breakthrough, the Punjab Police have arrested seven gangsters, including ‘most wanted’ Baljinder Singh aka Billa, while seizing a large cache of sophisticated arms and ammunition allegedly smuggled from Pakistan.
The gangsters are alleged to have links with the now reportedly deceased Pakistan-based Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harmeet Singh Happy, as well as Germany-based Gurmeet Singh aka Bagga of the Khalistan Zindabad Force.
Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta said Friday that police teams had recovered highly sophisticated weapons, smuggled in from Pakistan, from these accused. The recoveries include two 30 bore Drum Machine Guns, three pistols (marked SIG Sauer made in Germany), two Glock Pistols (made in Austria), two 30 bore pistols, one 32 bore pistol, one .315 bore rifle, 341 live cartridges and two drum magazines, 14 pistol magazines along with “drug money” of over Rs 3 lakh in Indian currency and one hundred Australian dollars.
Terming it as one of the biggest cache of highly sophisticated weapons seized from a criminal gang, Gupta said the SIG Suaer pistols were in fact being used by members of US Secret Service, which protects the highest elected leaders of the United States, especially that country’s president. Another notorious gangster, Sukhjinder, and five other members of the Billa gang, have also been arrested, the DGP said.
According to DGP Gupta, the arrests were made in a joint operation by the Organised Crime Control Unit (OCCU) team from Chandigarh, Counter Intelligence, Jalandhar Unit and Kapurthala police on Thursday.
Apart from Billa, who is a resident of Mandiala in Gurdaspur district, six others arrested include, Sukhjinder Singh (resident of village Kamoke Beas in Amritsar district), Kapurthala-based Mohit Sharma, Lovepreet Singh, Mangal Singh and Maninderjeet Singh aka Happy and Lovepreet Singh, a resident of Amarkot in Tarn Taran district. Billa was wanted in more than 18 criminal cases including, murder, attempt to murder and smuggling of weapons and drugs.
All the arrested accused have been kept separately as they are being tested for COVID-19 by a special team of doctors, said the DGP.
The DGP said that preliminary investigations carried out so far revealed that most of the weapons recovered from Billa were sent from across the Indo-Pak border in different consignments. Police is also investigating the role of militants in the supply chain of illegal weapons.
Police have also seized cars — a Toyota Fortuner, an Etios Liva and an Alto — from the criminals, along with some fake documents.
They have learnt that a part of the consignment, consisting of AK-74 rifles which was pushed into the Mamdot area of Ferozepur sector from across the border on September 24, 2019 and seized by STF Punjab, was also meant for the Billa Mandiala criminal gang.
Giving details of the arrests, the DGP said Gurmeet Chauhan, AIG OCCU, had received reliable inputs that the most wanted gangster ‘Billa Mandiala’, along with his associates, was taking shelter in Kapurthala area, with a large consignment of illegal arms, which were to be used in the commission of different types of terror and criminal acts. DSP (OCCU) Bikram Brar was immediately tasked on the mission, with the support of AIG, Counter Intelligence, Jalandhar, Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh and SSP Kapurthala Satinder Singh.
Police teams laid siege around the Dadwindi and Mothanwala area of Sultanpur Lodhi police station and made the arrests. A case has been registered against all the six under sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Arms Act at Police Station Sultanpur Lodhi, Kapurthala.
During preliminary investigations, Billa has revealed that he was in contact with various Pakistan-based weapons and drugs smugglers, including two named Mirza and Ahmdeen, and had already received many consignments of weapons and drugs from them, mostly in the Ferozepur area, said the DGP.
Mirza was allegedly working as courier on Indo-Pak border for operatives of Khalistan Libration Force based in Pakistan and India in the recent past, and had successfully pushed many weapon consignments into the Indian territory. Billa also revealed that he was in close contact with gangster Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, who is currently lodged in Patiala Jail, and is suspected to be in touch with Germany and Pakistan based militant outfits. Gurpreet Sekhon is a ‘A’ category gangster who had earlier been in touch with KLF chief Harminder Singh Mintu, who died a few years ago.
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