In an ongoing crackdown against anti-social elements, the Punjab Police has nabbed several gangsters, including some members of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, and drug smugglers, with huge recoveries of narcotics in the last one month.
With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government reiterating that it is according top priority to wiping out the scourge of gangsters and drugs from the state, police have not only neutralised two sharpshooters allegedly involved in the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala in an encounter, but also made recoveries of heroin weighing 147.5 kg in joint operations with the Gujarat Police and the Maharashtra Police.
Officials said the Punjab Police has launched a ”decisive war” against the scourge of drugs and the gangster culture.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who was targeted by the opposition over Punjab’s law-and-order situation, has recently said his government is committed to freeing the state from gangsters and drug-peddlers as he accused the previous Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress governments of patronising them.
Police achieved a major success last week when it gunned down gangsters Jagroop Singh Roopa and Manpreet Singh alias Mannu Kusa, who were allegedly involved in Moosewala’s killing, in an encounter in Amritsar.
Police teams are now after the sixth shooter in the Moosewala case — Deepak Mundi — who is on the run, according to a senior official of the Anti-Gangster Task Force of the Punjab Police.
Besides, police also arrested several people who allegedly provided logistic support, conducted reconnaissance and harboured Moosewala’s shooters.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead in Punjab’s Mansa district on May 29.
Police this month also busted an inter-state gang backed by gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi and Harwinder Rinda as they arrested 13 people who allegedly had plans to carry out killings and armed robberies in the state.
On July 17, police nabbed three members of the Bhuppi Rana gang following an exchange of fire at a hotel in Mohali’s Zirakpur area. The gang was allegedly running an extortion racket.
Police also arrested 1,749 drug-suppliers and smugglers and registered 1,401 FIRs under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act across the state in the last three weeks, a senior official said.
”Our aggressive campaign against drugs will continue,” Inspector General of Police Sukhchain Singh Gill told PTI.
During its anti-drug operations, police found out that Jammu and Kashmir has emerged as a new route for the transit of drugs through Punjab, a senior police official of the border range said.
It also came to light that drug smugglers were using emergency service vehicles such as ambulances for smuggling opium from Uttar Pradesh to Punjab.
Police also found that to avoid narcotics from being seized during raids, drug smugglers keep the contraband hidden in ponds and fields instead of their houses.
They also found that drug smugglers prefer to sell narcotics in small quantities to ensure that even if they are caught, the quantity of drugs seized is not considered as commercial.
The Punjab Police seized 75 kg of heroin from the Mundra port in coordination with the Gujarat Police and 72.5 kg of heroin from the Nhava Sheva port in a joint operation with the Maharashtra Police.
Police also recovered 21 kg of heroin from Punjab, besides 32 kg of opium and 7.93 lakh pharma opioids in anti-drug drives.
The director general of police (DGP) has issued directions to the district police chiefs to forfeit the properties of the arrested drug smugglers.
Besides the anti-drug operations, police also carried out cordon-and-search operations at many housing societies across the state, aimed at checking the movement of anti-social elements and instilling a sense of security among people.