Chandigarh May 8 (IANS) In a major breakthrough, Punjab Police on Friday said that they have arrested most wanted gangster Baljinder Singh ''Billa'' Mandiala, who had alleged links with the now reportedly dead Pakistan-based Khalistan Liberation Force chief Harmeet Singh Happy.
Another notorious gangster, Sukhjinder, and five other members of the Billa gang have also been arrested. A large consignment of highly sophisticated weapons smuggled in from Pakistan as well as drug money, reportedly smuggled from across the border at different times through several modes, including drones, were also seized.
Punjab Police DGP Dinkar Gupta said the arrests were made following a joint operation on Thursday. Besides Billa Mandiala, the others have been identified as Baljinder Singh of Gurdaspur, Sukhjinder Singh of Amritsar, Kapurthala-based Mohit Sharma, Lovepreet Singh, Mangal Singh and Maninderjeet Singh.
Billa Mandiala was wanted in more than 18 criminal cases, including murder, attempt to murder and smuggling of weapons and drugs.
All the arrested persons have been kept separately as they are being tested for Covid-19 by a special team of doctors.
Police teams have recovered highly sophisticated weapons, smuggled in from Pakistan, from the accused.
Terming it as one of the biggest caches of highly sophisticated weapons from a criminal gang, Gupta said that Sig Sauer pistols were in fact being used by members of the US Secret Service, which protects the highest elected leaders of the US, including the President.
The DGP said that preliminary investigations carried out so far has revealed that most of the weapons recovered are learnt to have come from across the Indo-Pak border in different consignments.
The police are also investigating the role of militants in the supply chain of illegal weapons.
The police have also learnt that a part of the consignment, consisting of AK-74 rifles, which was pushed into the Mamdot area of Ferozepur sector from across the border on September 24, 2019, was also meant for the Billa gang.
Giving details of the arrests, the DGP said Gurmeet Chohan, Assistant Inspector General, had received reliable inputs that Billa along with his associates was taking shelter in the Kapurthala area with a large consignment of illegal arms, which were to be used in the commission of different types of terror and criminal acts.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Bikram Brar was tasked on the mission, with the support of AIG, Counter Intelligence, Jalandhar, Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh, and Kapurthala SSP Satinder Singh.
Police teams laid siege around the Dadwindi and Mothanwala area of Sultanpur Lodhi police station and made the arrests.
During preliminary investigations, Billa'' Mandiala has revealed that he was in contact with various Pakistan-based weapons and drugs smugglers, including Mirza and Ahmdeen, and had already received many consignments of weapons and drugs from them, mostly in the Ferozepur area.
Mirza was allegedly working as a courier on Indo-Pak border for operatives of Khalistan Libration Force (KLF) based in Pakistan and India in the recent past and had pushed many weapon consignments into the Indian territory.
He also revealed that Billa Mandiala was in close contact with gangster Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, who is currently lodged in Patiala Jail, and is suspected to have had touch with Germany and Pakistan based militant outfits.
Sekhon is an ''A'' category gangster who had earlier been in touch with KLF chief Harminder Singh Mintu, who died a few years ago.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: IANS