NIA raids over 50 locations in north India in probe against terrorist gangster nexus

NEW DELHI, Oct 18: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday conducted raids at more than 50 locations in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan as part of an investigation against the nexus between terrorists, gangsters and drug traffickers, officials said.

The agency searched the premises of Sampat Nehra of Churu in Rajasthan; Naresh Sethi, a notorious gangster-criminal of Jhajjar in Haryana; Surender alias Cheeku of Narnaul in Haryana; Naveen alias Bali of Bawana in Delhi; Amit alias Dabang of Tajpur in outer Delhi; Amit Dagar of Gurugram; Sandeep alias Bandar and Salim alias Pistol of northeast Delhi; and Qurban and Rizwan of Khurja in Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh. The raids also covered the premises of their associates.

In Punjab’s Bathinda, the raids were conducted at the residences of advocate Gurpreet Singh Sidhu, Kabaddi promoter Jagga Jandian and alleged gangster Jaman Singh, police sources said.

Sidhu said his residence was searched by a team of NIA, while Kabaddi promoter Jandian claimed the agency team just took away his mobile phone.

“The raids were aimed to dismantle and disrupt the emerging nexus between terrorists, gangsters and drug smugglers/traffickers based in India and abroad,” a National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesperson said.

He said a few of the “most desperate” gang leaders and their associates based in India and abroad, who are spearheading and carrying out such terror and criminal activities, were identified and booked in two cases registered by the NIA in August this year.

Some of the associates of these gangsters, involved in illegal liquor supply mafia, were also targeted during the raids and they include Rajesh alias Raju Mota of Basodi village in Sonipat in Haryana.

The agency seized five pistols/revolvers along with ammunition from the house of Asif Khan, an advocate living in Gautam Vihar, Usmanpur area of northeast Delhi.

“He was connected with various gangsters of Haryana and Delhi. A few weapons in semi-knocked down condition have also been recovered. Apart from the above, incriminating documents, digital devices, details about benami property created through proceeds of crime, cash, gold bars and gold jewellery from Khurja , Bulandshahar (UP), threat letters, etc. Have also been seized by the NIA,” the spokesperson said.

He said the investigation will continue “to dismantle such terror networks as well as their funding and support infrastructure”.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that these gangs were carrying out targeted killings and were also raising funds to carry out such criminal activities through smuggling of drugs and weapons,” he said.

The official said the raids were undertaken after “recent sensational crimes and extortion calls by criminal syndicates and gangsters to businessmen and professionals, including doctors, had created a widespread scare among the people.”

“These gangs were using cyberspace to publicise these crimes to create terror among the public at large,” he said.

The NIA investigation, he said, also found that such criminal acts were not isolated local incidents but there was a deep-rooted conspiracy amongst terrorists, gangsters and drug smuggling cartels and networks, who were operating from both within and outside the country.

“Many gang leaders and members had fled from India and were now operating from foreign countries, including Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, Australia.

“Ongoing probes by the NIA such as the one into the killing of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh in Punjab also revealed that most of these conspiracies were being hatched from inside jails of different states and were being executed by an organised network of operatives based abroad,” he said.

As part of its raids on Tuesday, the NIA also searched the residence of lawyer Avinash Yadav, a member of the Bar Association of Gurugram. The Bar Association has condemned the NIA action. (PTI)