New Delhi: Delhi Police’s Special Cell Monday arrested five persons for allegedly being part of a narco-terror nexus involved in pushing drugs from Pakistan into India and funding terrorist activities.
Those arrested have been identified as Gurjit Singh, Sukhdeep Singh, Shabir Ahmad, Mohammad Ayub Pathan and Riyaz Rather.
The police said Gurjit and Sukhdeep, sharpshooters working for a most wanted gangster named Sukhmeet Pal Singh, killed Shaurya Chakra recipient Balwinder Singh Sandhu in October this year. Ahmad, Pathan and Rather are from Jammu and Kashmir and work with the Hizbul Mujahideen.
The police said Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, through its K2 (Kashmir-Khalistan) desk, has been funding the targeted killings of Right wing leaders in Punjab and other states using drug money. They were also planning a strike in the national capital.
The police claimed to have received an input Monday about Sukhmeet instructing Gurjit and Sukhdeep to kill a Right wing leader in Delhi, before meeting a person from Kashmir near the Ramesh Park bus stand in Shakarpur.
“On the instructions of ISI, three persons from Kashmir had come to Delhi to provide funds obtained from drug trafficking to the sharpshooters,” Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell, P.S. Kushwaha said.
A trap was then laid and the five men were nabbed following an exchange of fire. The police claimed to have recovered 2 kg heroin, worth Rs 8 crore in the international market, along with Rs 1 lakh in cash from them.
According to the police, multiple teams have been dispatched to Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to collect specific information on those arrested.
Pushing narcotics via Kashmir
According to the police, the ISI has been pushing narcotics through Hizbul Mujahideen cadres and overground workers based in Kashmir. The drugs were then supplied to their “Khalistani counterparts in Punjab for onward distribution”, the police claimed.
“The task of providing the drug money to the sharpshooters was given by a Pakistan-based operative with code name ‘Sadakat’ who belongs to Hizbul and is presently operating from Paksitan-occupied Kashmir,” Kushwaha said.
The police also claimed that the ISI, along with two Pakistan-based Khalistan radicals —Harmeet Singh alias PhD, former chief of Khalistan Liberation Force (now dead), and Lakhbir Singh, chief of KZF- Khalistan Zindabad Force — had been using Sukhmeet for “target killings in Punjab”.
The Delhi Police’s Special Cell said it had intelligence inputs that the ISI was planning to execute targeted killings of Hindu and Right-wing leaders in Delhi and neighbouring states. The ISI had also activated its K2 desk to execute the same, the police claimed.
“We further found that pro-Khalistani radicals were employing gangsters for executing the killings of Right-wing leaders to revive militancy,” said a senior officer.
According to the police, the first link between Punjab-based gangsters and pro-Khalistani radicals came to light while investigating incidents of target killings of Right-wing leaders in Punjab between 2016 and 2017.
“These killings were executed at the behest of the ISI. We further developed this information through human and technical surveillance and it was found that ISI, along with Pakistan-based Khalistan radicals, were doing this to revive militancy in Punjab and they have been using gangster Sukhmeet for these target killings,” the officer quoted above said.
Series of attacks
Investigation also revealed that Sukhmeet had travelled to a Gulf country on fake documents and set up a base there, from where he has been operating. The police said he was also given a task to kill a Hindu outfit leader, Honey Mahajan, in February this year.
“Sukhmeet had executed a spree of killings in Punjab on the instructions of the ISI. He was also given the task to kill Hindu outfit leader Mahajan and he executed the same on 11 February 2020, through his henchmen,” Kushwaha said.
Mahajan, however, survived the attack, though he sustained injuries.
On 16 October, Sukhmeet allegedly executed the killing of Shaurya Chakra recipient Sandhu through Gurjit and Sukhdeep, which the police claimed was done on the instructions of ISI.
“The ISI is trying to emulate the model of 2016-17 in Punjab when they executed eight murders of Right wing leaders through similar modus operandi. Over time, ISI through its Kashmir–Khalistan desk has been funding these killings through drug money,” Kushwaha said.
Gurjit and Sukhdeep, according to the police, were roped in by Sukhmeet through gangster Ravinder Singh, who is lodged in Ferozepur Jail.
“The shooters were provided with monetary support and sophisticated weapons and then executed the killing of Sandhu. Thereafter, they had been hiding at different hideouts arranged by Sukhmeet,” Kushwaha said.
Pathan, the police claimed, was working as an overground worker of the Hizbul Mujahideen and following instructions of his cousin Abdul Majeed Khan, who is presently based in Rawalpindi. Khan, the police claimed, is a senior operative of the Hizbul.
“It is Khan who introduced Pathan to the Pakistan-based operative, code name ‘Sadakat’. Sadakat is the one handling the channeling of funds through narco-terrorism,” Kushwaha said.
Sadakat alias Ajaz Ahmad was then tasked to receive a consignment of narcotics pushed from Pakistan into India and deliver the same to his other contacts in Punjab, the police claimed.
“They were also tasked to collect the money earned through the sale of drugs and disburse the same to different persons involved in terrorism,” Kushwaha added.