ED conducts raids as it begins money laundering probe against Bishnoi gang
The agencies have established that Bishnoi worked closely through his deputy Satwinderjeet Singh alias Goldy Brar with Khalistani groups operating from Canada
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has begun a money laundering probe against the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, which has been involved in the smuggling of drugs and weapons in India and abroad, assisting pro-Khalistan elements, extortion, and targeted killings, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The agency was carrying out raids at 13 locations in Haryana and Rajasthan at the premises linked to Bishnoi’s associates.
The ED is learnt to have taken over the cases against the gang from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Haryana Police to launch a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi was allegedly sending money generated in India through extortion and smuggling to Canada and other countries. The money was invested in yachts, movies and even the Canadian Premier League, as well as clubs and bars in Thailand, HT reported on September 24. The ED will look into all these investments as part of its probe.
In its charge sheet filed against Bishnoi, the NIA listed at least 13 instances from 2019 to 2021 when Bishnoi sent amounts ranging from ₹5 lakh to ₹60 lakh to Canada and Thailand via hawala.
The agencies have established that Bishnoi worked closely through his deputy Satwinderjeet Singh alias Goldy Brar with Khalistani groups operating from Canada, particularly Babbar Khalsa International leader Lakhbir Singh Landa.
“...the money collected through extortion, illegal liquor, arms smuggling business, etc was sent to...Goldy Brar and one Satbir Singh alias Sam in Canada through hawala for further investment as well as for funding the radical activities of pro-Khalistan elements...,” said the charge sheet filed in March against 14 persons, who are part of a larger Khalistan-gangster nexus.
The chargesheet said Sam has been identified as a point person for managing the ill-gotten money in Canada. “Sam invested a part of this money to purchase yachts, finance movies, and organise [the] Canadian Premier League in Canada.” It added Bishnoi confessed to receiving funds from Sam.
The transactions to Canada cited in NIA’s charge sheet include ₹two lakh monthly to Brar in 2021, two payments of ₹20 lakh each in 2020 to him, ₹50 lakh given to Sam in 2020, ₹60 lakh to both Brar and Sam in 2021 and payments of ₹40 lakh and ₹20 lakh to Sam in 2021.
The NIA said the money the gang collected through extortion, illegal liquor, arms smuggling business, etc was sent to one Manish Bhandari in Thailand through hawala by gangster Virendra Pratap alias Kala Rana, his father Joginder Singh and Rajkumar alias Raju Basodi for investing in night clubs and bars.
“When any member of Lawrence Bishnoi’s gang goes to Thailand, Bhandari provides accommodation and logistics support to him.”
An ED officer said the anti-money laundering agency was analysing NIA charge sheets and first information reports.
Get Current Updates on India News, PM Narendra Modi Live Updates along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world