Akali leader’s murder: Politician-gangster nexus back in spotlight again
SAD’s Majithia has alleged that Bhagwanpuria has links with minister Randhawa. The latter has rejected the allegations and termed the Akali leader as ‘real godfather of the gangsters’Updated: Dec 01, 2019 01:16 IST
The politics over the murder of Gurdaspur district Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) vice-president Dalbir Singh Dhilwan has once again brought back the spotlight on the deep-rooted nexus between gangsters and politicians in Punjab. Former Akali minister Bikram Singh Majithia has alleged that jailed gangster Jaggu Bhagwanpuria has links with Punjab jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. However, Randhawa has vehemently rejected these allegations and hit back at Majithia terming him “the real godfather of the gangsters”. Politics has hotted up over the issue with Majithia holding five press conferences over the issue in the past one week and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar and party MLAs coming in support of Randhawa.
Information accessed by Hindustan Times from different sources in Punjab Police reveal that the gangster-politician nexus is not new and it got strengthened in the state after the end of terrorism era by mid 90s.
The crime wing of Punjab Police has a series of source reports where politicians, by providing shelter to young and aggressive minds, used them for their political gains. The state even witnessed gangsters contesting polls or openly supporting candidates in assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
HT profiles some notorious gangsters who had links with politicians.
According to police, Prabhjinder Singh Dimpi was the first gangster that was nurtured by politicians in the state. He entered the world of crime in 1985 when his name figured in the murder case of Makhan Singh, the then student leader of Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Sources said Dimpi was a student leader with close links with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) of Simranjeet Singh Mann, and his muscle power got a real fillip after Mann-supported candidates won 10 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab in 1989.
“Dimpi was also fielded by Maan from Kotkapura seat in 1991 assembly elections. By that time, he was seen as number two in the party, but the elections were cancelled due to a last-minute decision of the Centre,” claims a senior police official.
In 1992, The Congress government was formed in Punjab and Dimpi left the state and joined hands with big gangsters like Mukhtar Ansari in Uttar Pradesh.
He later came to Chandigarh and was killed in 2006 by his one-time protege Jaswinder Rocky near Sukhna Lake at Chandigarh.
Rocky started taking “classes in crime” under Dimpi. After killing Dimpi in 2006, he spread his wings in the world of extortion mafia. Police claim he got support of “key politicians” in Malwa region. In 2012, he got 30,000-odd votes in the assembly polls while contesting as independent from Fazilka and was defeated by BJP’s Surjeet Kumar Jyani by just 1,600 votes. Cadres of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), BJP’s ally, were said to be supporting Rocky in that election. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had to announce from Jyani’s stage that anyone supporting Rocky would be thrown out of the SAD.
In 2013, he was photographed with the then Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in a delegation with Congressmen Raj Kumar Verka and Ravneet Singh Bittu in the Parliament House complex in New Delhi.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he openly supported Akali nominee Sher Singh Ghubaya.
The gangster-turned-politician was shot dead by the Jaipal gang near Parwanoo on the Shimla-Chandigarh highway in 2016.
His sister Rajdeep Kaur is carrying the gangster’s legacy in politics and contested 2017 assembly polls as an independent. She later joined the SAD, but ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls she came into the Congress fold in the presence of chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
Sidhana, who now claims himself to be a social worker, and is still facing a few cases, was an active supporter of Akali minister Sikander Singh Maluka in his Rampura Phul constituency. He openly claimed it many times that Maluka used his muscle power in politics on many occasions, the charges which the former minister refuted repeatedly. Ahead of 2012 assembly polls, Sidhana was reportedly close to Manpreet Badal, who had formed the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) at that time. Sidhana unsuccessfully contested on PPP ticket from Rampura Phul segment.
Before getting the gangster’s tag, Gandhi, a native of Rasoolra village of Khanna in Ludhiana district, was a leader of Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) in late 90s and there he came close to many leaders, including a former Union minister, belonging to the Congress. Later, he founded Gandhi Group Student Union (GGSU), which is still active in the PU. He was booked in more than eight cases, including murder and extortion. After entering the world of crime, Gandhi was elected sarpanch of his village unopposed. He was killed in 2003 by the rival Pehalwan gang. Later, his brother Maninder Singh, who had produced a film ‘Rupinder Gandhi-The Robindhood’ was also killed by a rival gang.
Vicky Gounder and Prema Lahoria
Gounder (29) and Lahoria (31), the two most wanted gangsters who were killed in 2018 in an encounter with Punjab Police in Rajasthan, were former national-level athletes at Sports College in Jalandhar. Days after the encounter, members of their families alleged that the duo had once worked for a former Congress minister from Jalandhar and took to crime after killing a man with whom the politician had a financial dispute. Sukha Kahlwan, another big name in the crime world, who was killed in 2014, was also nurtured under this leader.
Gurmeet Singh Kala Dhanaula
A resident of Dhanaula of Barnala district, he is among the gangsters who started the trend of collecting ‘hafta’ from businessmen. He remained Sarpanch of Dhanaula village and became councillor when the village was elevated to nagar panchayat. Till his arrest in 2009, he was often seen on stages of Shiromani Akali Dal in Sangrur, particularly with a high-profile political family from the region. He later extended his support to the Congress.