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Automatic rifles, Rs 1.5 crore cash seized in NIA swoop on 76 locations in North India

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Srinagar: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday seized 11 automatic weapons and cash to the tune of Rs 1.50 crore in a series of raids at 76 locations across northern India to dismantle the nexus between terrorists, gangsters, drug smugglers and traffickers based in the country and abroad.

The NIA spokesperson said that the agency conducted raids simultaneously at these locations in Punjab, Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi/ NCR region.  Some of the most desperate gang leaders and their associates based in India and some foreign countries, spearheading and carrying out such terror and criminal activities, have been identified and booked in three particular cases registered by the NIA in August, 2022.

The NIA spokesperson said that the agency’s crackdown on Tuesday on “top gangsters, their criminal & business associates” was the 5th round of the massive operation which would continue further. A number of the associates of different key actors in the terror-drug-hawala racket are said to have been targeted and cash worth Rs 1.50 crore has been recovered.

During the searches, 11 pistols, revolvers and rifles have been seized, along with a quantity of assorted ammunition along with incriminating documents and digital devices.

The NIA raids were carried out in Abohar, Bhatinda, Muktsar Sahib, Moga, Ludhiana, Mohali, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran and Ludhiana districts of Punjab, Gurugram, Yamuna Nagar, Rohtak, Mahendragarh, Sirsa and Jhajjar districts of Haryana, Churu, Bharatpur and Alwar districts of Rajasthan, Bagpat, Bareilly, Pratapgarh, Bulandshahr and Pilibhit districts of Uttar Pradesh and Dwarka, Outer North, Central and Outer North Districts of Delhi/NCR.

Searches were conducted at the houses/premises of Lakhvir Singh of Gidderbaha at Muktsar, Naresh at Abohar, Surender @ Cheeku of Narnaul in Haryana, Kaushal Choudhary and Amit Dagar of Gurugram and Sunil Rathi of Baghpat, UP and their hawala, kabaddi players, weapon suppliers, gun houses, business frontmen, financiers and logistics associates.

“Further investigations will continue to dismantle such terror networks as well as their funding and support infrastructure. Preliminary investigations have revealed that these gangs were carrying out targeted killings and were also raising funds to carry out such criminal activities through smuggling of drugs, hawala network and weapons”, the spokesperson added.

“The recent sensational crimes and extortion calls by criminal syndicates and gangsters to businessmen, professionals, including doctors etc., had created a widespread scare among the people. These gangs were using cyberspace to publicise these crimes to create terror among the public at large”, the NIA spokesperson added further.

The NIA investigation has also revealed that such criminal acts were not isolated local incidents but there was a deep-rooted conspiracy amongst terrorists, gangsters and drug smuggling cartels and networks, who were operating from both within and outside the country.

According to the NIA, many gang leaders and members had fled from India and were now operating from foreign countries, including Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia, Australia and some other countries. The NIA investigations in the murder of Sanjay Biyani in Maharashtra, Sandeep Nangal Ambia in Punjab and some other assassinations have, significantly, detected that most of these conspiracies were hatched from inside jails of different States and the same were being executed by an organized network of operatives based overseas.