Following Punjabi singer and Congress leader Sidhu Moosewala's killing in Punjab on Sunday, names of at least three gangsters have emerged as Punjab Police said the murder could be a fallout of an inter-gang rivalry.
While Punjab Director General of Police VK Bhawra clarified on Monday that he did not call Moosewala a gangster, the police did say that the name of Moosewala's manager had come up in a murder of an Akali leader last year.
Moosewala's father Balkaur Singh, who was in a car behind Moosewala's when he was shot and witnessed the attack, said in his police complaint that his son had received death threats from Lawrence Bishnoi and other gangsters.
Here we explain allegations over Moosewala's killing, the gangsters who have been named, what they have said and how they operate.
What we know of Moosewala's killing?
Sidhu Moosewala was shot dead in Jawahar Ke village in Mansa district of Punjab on Sunday when he was travelling in a Mahindra Thar jeep with a cousin and a friend.
Punjab DGB Bhawra said at least three weapons, including 9 mm and 455 bore, were used and 30 empty cases were recovered from the site.
Moosewala's father Balkaur Singh said in his police complaint that when he was following his son in his car, he saw a Corrola car with four occupants trailing Moosewala's car in Jawahar Ke village.
A second car — a Bolero — stopped in front of Moosewala's Thar when he took a turn towards village Barnala, as per the FIR the police registered based on Singh's complaint. The occupants of Corolla and Bolero started indiscriminate firing at Moosewala and later fled, according to Singh.
The gangster connection to Moosewala's death
The Punjab Police on Sunday said Sidhu Moosewala's killing could be related to the rivlary between Lawrence Bishnoi and Lucky Patial gangs.
Mansa Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Toora said the name of Moosewala's manager Shaganpreet had cropped up in the murder case of youth Akali leader Vicky Middukhera last year. Shagunpreet had then fled to Australia.
Following the killing, PTI reported police sources as saying that Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar had taken responsibility for the killing.
Moosewala's father Balkaur Singh also said his son had received death threats from Lawrence Bishnoi and other gangsters.
Who are Goldy Brar, Lawrence Bishnoi?
Canada-based Goldy Brar, associated with jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, claimed responsibility of Sidhu Moosewala's murder in a social media post, as per IANS.
The translation of the post, shared by The IANS, highlighted Brar and Bishnoi's rivalry with Moosewala over Middukhera's killing and other incidents.
The post read, "Today, Moosewala was killed in Punjab, I, Sachin Bishnoi, Lawrence Bishnoi take the responsibility. It's our work. Moosewala's name surfaced in our brother Vikramjit Singh Middukhera and Gurlal Brar's murder, but the Punjab Police did not take any action against him. We also came to know that Moosewala was also involved in the encounter of our associate Ankit Bhadu."
Brar's real name is Satinder Singh and he is a native of Faridkot, as per The Indian Express.
The Express reported, "He was involved in an extortion racket being run in the state. It is alleged that he had a hand in the murder of a Youth Congress leader Gurlal Pehalwan. He is now living in Canada and is operating from there through a module in Punjab."
Lawrence Bishnoi is a native of Dhattaranwali village near Abohar in Punjab's Ferozepur.
He is facing two dozen cases, including those of murders, attempt to murders, and extortion, and he is believed to operate his gang from inside the jail, according to The Express.
Bishnoi commands a gang of around of 700 members and is currently lodged in Tihar Jail, as per an India Today report.
It adds, "Bishnoi and his gang, which includes professional shooters, operate from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh, and their network is spread across the globe. The Bishnoi gang extorts money from the liquor mafia, Punjabi singers, and other influential people."
Bishnoi is also believed to be associated with Sandeep alias Kala Jathedi, who was arrested by Delhi Police last year.
What's the inter-gang rivalry?
The gangs and associates of Lawrence Bishnoi and dead gangster Davinder Bambiha are engaged in a turf-war in Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi.
The Express reported, "Goldy Brar is a close associate of Bishnoi and was running an extortion racket on the behest of Bishnoi. Both the gangs have waged a bloody war in the state for the past few years and often target each other’s men. Bambiha gang is allegedly run by Lucky Patial who is lodged in a jail in Armenia."
The Brar-Bishnoi side had taken Moosewala on their radar after Middukhera's killing, for which they believe Moosewala via his manager hired Kaushal Chaudhary's gang members, according to The Tribune.
(With PTI inputs)