Sidhu Moose Wala shot dead LIVE updates
Till now, the fight was over land, property and extortion from bookies and cable operators, but Bishnoi’s entry has not only changed the rules but also upped the game, say investigators. From targeted killings ordered from abroad, to controlling kabaddi tournaments and being the first to release songs by Punjabi singers on YouTube channels, the challenges for the underworld seem to be changing.
Those tracking Bishnoi’s gang said he played it smart to gain entry into Delhi and Haryana’s crime scene. He joined hands with the local mafia, a time-tested method for turf expansion, like slain gangster Jitender Gogi in Delhi and Sandeep alias Kala Jathedi in Haryana. In Rajasthan, he extended support to slain gangster Anandpal’s henchmen.
“His objective seemed very clear, to rule the underworld in north India and have a strong foothold in Haryana, Delhi, UP, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, apart from his home state, Punjab,” said a senior officer.
However, Bishnoi’s plans have not gone unchallenged and his syndicate has been in a fierce rivalry with Bambiha-Patial gang from Punjab. In 2016, the Bambiha group was weakened when the kingpin, Davinder Bambiha, was killed in an encounter with police, but it was soon resurrected with the support of Pak-based Khalistani operative Rinda Sandhu, said sources. The group was funded through Sukha Singh from Moga, Punjab. To counter this, Bishnoi had his close associate, Goldy Brar, placed in Canada.
The Bambiha group was further strengthened with the support from gangster Gaurav alias Lucky Patial, who currently operates from Armenia.
In Punjab, the rivalry turned fierce to control the release of songs by Punjabi singers. “Often, the agreement is that singers won’t release all songs of their album themselves and, instead, allot a couple to these syndicates to release it on YouTube channels. This is not just for making money, but also laundering,” said another investigator.
“To control kabaddi tournaments, the gangsters convince or force international players to take part in their leagues to win bets and fix matches. This has resulted in murders of players who refused to give in or sided with a rival,” said a source in an intelligence agency.
Outside Punjab, the fight is to control extortion, land grabbing, settle property disputes and contract killings.
The Bambiha-Patial group is challenging the Bishnoi syndicate by replicating their game by joining hands with local gangsters. They extended support to gangster Kaushal in Haryana and partnered with Gogi’s rivals, Sunil alias Tillu Tajpuriya and Neeraj Bawana, to expand operations in the NCR.
This “outside support” has not only changed the crime situation in Delhi and neighbouring states, but also posed a major challenge for police. This alliance was behind Gogi’s murder inside a courtroom in Rohini. In Punjab, they murdered international kabaddi player and UK resident Sandeep Singh Sidhu in March this year in Jalandhar.
“The groups now share manpower, infrastructure and weapons, thereby making their operations financially viable. They also try to derail police’s probe into their crimes,” said another investigator.
Several crackdowns have occurred in the last few years resulting in top gangsters like Bishnoi and Jathedi landing behind bars. Gang members based abroad, like Kaushal and Sukh Bhikariwal from Dubai and Kala Rana from Bangkok, have been deported and jailed. But to stop these gang leaders from operating from inside jails is a major challenge before police.
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