Friday, Dec 09, 2022

Did A Song Trigger Sidhu Moosewala’s Murder? Here’s a Lowdown On Investigation So Far

Did A Song Trigger Sidhu Moosewala’s Murder? Here’s a Lowdown On Investigation So Far

Wanted gangster Goldy Brar released a video on Friday, claiming to have rejected slain singer’s Rs 2 crore offer for a compromise, following another murder.

Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala
Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala Twitter

Did a provocative song written and sung by Sidhu Moosewala ultimately lead to his murder? According to investigative agencies, the gangsters who killed the 28-year-old singer did so as a matter of prestige. They say the slain singer, through his song Bambiha Bole (2020), not just challenged their gang members, but also glorified their rival Bambiha gang.

Moosewala had collaborated with another Punjabi singer Amrit Mann for the song. It starts with the question, “Yes, Amrit Mann Ji, what will we get to hear in the song ‘Bambiha Bole’?” Then comes the sharp reply, “See, we have just written a song, but it could feel like a tight slap to some people.” Loaded with gangster bravado, the lyrics went:

Whenever he speaks, people lock their mouth shut,
He walks like a leopard and wears cotton shirts
He has broken the bones of a rival somewhere,
The police look for him in the middle of the night
Someone was murdered behind the mulberry tree,
The ‘Bambiha’ says it all, the ‘Bambiha’ says it all!

Bambiha is the Punjabi name for the Jacobin Cuckoo, a bird with a sweet, high-pitched voice. It finds special mention in the Guru Granth Sahib. Moosewala's song, though, is laden with gunshot sounds. And its video is a revenge fantasy that focuses on ways to kill detractors, collaborators and enemies. Depicting himself as a criminal, Moosewala boasts that he is a desi guy all police stations are familiar with. Moosewala also brags about having a ferocious nature and a Russian assault rifle.

Moosewala, police say, was killed as a fallout of rivalry between Bishnoi and Bambiha gangs. The slain singer wasn’t directly involved in the rivalry, the police have clarified. Incidentally, Davinder Singh Sidhu alias Davinder Bambiha, a kabaddi player-turned-gangster who founded the eponymous gang, was killed in a police encounter in 2016, when he was just 26. He was jailed in 2010 when a person got killed during a scuffle between two groups at Bambiha Bhai village in Moga district. 

At the age of 21, Bambiha had escaped from jail to build the Bambiha gang. Wanted in over a dozen murder and attempt-to-murder cases, as well as of loot and snatching, he was among the most wanted gangsters of the state since 2012. Before he was gunned down, he had acquired the status of a social media celebrity and would challenge police frequently.

During interrogation, as per Punjab Police, Lawrence Bishnoi—whose gang claimed to have killed Moosewala—has ruled out the murder as a ‘supari’ killing. “He provoked us through his song and extolled the Bambiha gang. He dared us to attack him,” Bishnoi has been quoted as saying by The Tribune. “We let him off initially, following the intervention of Harvinder Rinda (gangster-turned-terrorist). But something had to be done after Vikramjit Singh Middukhera.” 

Vikramjit Singh Middukhera alias Vicky Middukhera was a 33-year-old Akali youth leader who was also associated with Punjab’s music industry. He was killed in 2021, allegedly by the Bambiha gang, for working as the Bishnoi gang’s conduit. 

Soon after Middukhera was killed, the name of Moosewala’s manager, Shagunpreet, had figured in the probe. The Bishnoi gang had alleged Moosewala’s hand in the Middukhera murder as the reason behind Moosewala’s revenge killing. Reacting to Moosewala’s murder, the Bambiha gang, which is the arch-rival of the Bishnoi gang, have stated in a social media post that Lawrence Bishnoi and Goldy Brar shouldn’t have killed Moosewala, maintaining that they had no links with Moosewala. Since the Bishnoi gang linked Moosewala’s contract killing with the Bambiha gang, members of the Bambiha gang have now promised to avenge the singer’s murder.

Earlier, another wanted gangster of the Bishnoi gang, Canada-based Goldy Brar, had taken responsibility for “revenge” killing. Taking to Facebook, he had stated that no action was taken against Moosewala after his alleged involvement in the killing of Middukhera. Bishnoi gang is said to have a large network of sharpshooters active in Punjab, Haryana and National Capital Region (NCR). On Friday, Brar released a 10-minute video, claiming to have rejected Moosewala’s Rs 2 crore-offer for a compromise, following Middukhera’s murder. Brar alleges that the slain singer would taunt them through his songs.

“Sidhu (Moosewala) was a culprit. He was indirectly involved in the killing of our two brothers. To cement the image that he had crafted for himself through his songs, he did unforgiveable things. He deserved punishment. We waited for the law to take its course but to no avail,” he alleges. “But law punishes only the common people and not influential people like leaders, ministers and their friends. They commit crimes and roam around freely,” says Brar, who is masked in the video, maintaining that his gang had no option but to kill him. “We have got justice. Whether we are right or wrong we leave it to the court of almighty God. Whatever punishment He awards, we will accept it. We don’t have trust in any other justice system.”

“We are bad people. Let us be bad, we don’t want to be good again. People ruin the houses of good people. My brother, who had nothing to do with gangsters, was killed. But police failed to nab his killers,” he goes on to rant, saying that most of the people have been overwhelmed by emotional videos showing Moosewala’s parents and his funeral. Accusing Moosewala of bringing similar grief to many houses, he adds that the singer didn’t deserve to be called a “Sikh-shaheed (martyr)”. Calling him a “self-obsessed” person, Brar goes on to comment on Moosewala’s paradoxical admiration for Black American rapper Tupac Shakur, saying, “Tupac never roamed with police security. He didn’t have politicians as friends. If Moosewala had guts, he too wouldn’t have done so.”

The autopsy report has determined that Moosewala had 19 bullet injury marks on his body and he died within 15 minutes of the fatal attack. Forensic examination of the cartridges recovered from the assassination site show the shooters possibly used an AK-47 rifle, a .30 bore pistol and 4-5 9mm pistols. The Thar vehicle Moosewala was driving at the time he was killed had over 25 bullet marks. Several bullets were also seen embedded in the walls near the crime scene.

A worldwide web of about 60 gangsters and their associates is suspected to be involved in Moosewala's murder. At least 16 gang members and leaders have been arrested so far. While three of the six shooters, including Priyavrat alias Fauji (26), the head of the module and the main shooter, along with Kashish alias Kuldeep and Ankit Sirsa, have been nabbed by Delhi Police, the remaining three, Jagroop Roopa, Manpreet Maanu and Deepak Mundi are absconding.

Besides his brother Anmol Bishnoi and nephew Sachin Thapan, Lawrence Bishnoi was in constant touch with Goldy Brar in Canada. Anmol and Sachin fled the country nearly a month before the murder. Delhi Police have arrested five persons who allegedly made fake passports for them. Recently, Delhi Police released a video that showed Moosewala’s killers celebrating his murder by waving guns in a moving car, soon after they fled the crime spot. The clip was recovered from the phone of 19-year-old Ankit Sirsa, who is already facing two attempt-to-murder cases. 

Police have also arrested Sandeep Singh, nephew of former Punjab Assembly Speaker and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Nirmal Singh Kahlon. Allegedly, he helped three of the shooters reach Bathinda with weapons. His friend from Amritsar, Satbir Singh, too, has been arrested.

Police have recovered an under-barrel grenade launcher, eight grenades, nine electric detonators, an assault rifle with 20 cartridges, three sophisticated pistols, 36 rounds and a part of an AK series assault rifle from the arrested men. The firearms and ammunition constituted the reserves, to be used in Moosewala's murder as Plan B just in case the Plan A failed. But police are yet to recover the weapons that were used to kill Moosewala. Soon after the murder, the assailants had reportedly handed them over to an aide in adjoining Haryana, before they split into smaller groups to escape police chase.

Moosewala, the singer-politician who had joined the Congress months before the 2022 state assembly polls, was shot dead on May 29 in Punjab's Mansa district. On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the plea seeking to transfer the investigation to the CBI. Two days later, a Delhi court remanded Lawarence Bishnoi to seven-day police custody in Punjab.