New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday conducted raids across the country at more than 70 locations belonging to gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi, Neeraj Bawana and their aides.
The raids were conducted in Delhi-NCR, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh.
An official said that in a major crackdown on gangsters, working in tandem with terrorist groups and drug smugglers based in foreign countries including Pakistan and Canada, the NIA conducted raids at 76 locations across eight states and seized a large cache of arms and ammunition and cash of Rs 2.5 crore.
The NIA officials said that the raids were conducted on the basis of the three separate FIRs lodged by them.
"Three cases have been registered by the NIA since August 2022 and several people, including some Kabbadi players were identified and booked for their alleged involvement in terror and other criminal activities, including targeted hits and extortion from leading businessmen and professionals," an official said.
The investigation has revealed that conspiracies for several such crimes, including the sensational killing of Maharashtra builder, Sanjay Biyani, and Sandeep Nangal Ambia, an international Kabbadi player, were being hatched in jails of different states and were being executed by an organised network of operatives based abroad, the official added.
The official said the NIA conducted raids in connection with the matter for the fifth time.
The official said that raids were focused on arms suppliers and Hawala operators working with these gangs.
"We have recovered 9 illegal weapons, including pistols, revolvers and rifles, and Rs 1.5 crore in cash. Incriminating materials, including documents, hard drives and mobile phones, were also seized," the official said.
The official said that searches were conducted at the premises of Lakhvir Singh of Gidderbaha at Muktsar, Naresh at Abohar, Surender a.k.a. Cheeku at Narnaul in Haryana, Kaushal Choudhary and Amit Dagar at Gurugram and Sunil Rathi at Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh.
The official said that apart from them, some Hawala operators, kabaddi players, weapon suppliers, gun houses, businessmen and their alleged financers, were also raided.
"The investigation has established that many criminals, who were leading gangsters in India, had later fled to Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia and Australia. But they were in touch with criminals lodged in different jails in India. These groups were carrying out targeted killings and raising funds for their nefarious activities through smuggling of drugs and weapons, hawala and extortion," the NIA said.