Operation Dhvast: NIA raids 324 places in 8 states in terrorist-gangster nexus cases

18 May, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

NIA National

NIA in collaboration with the Punjab and Haryana Police, raided 324 locations on Wednesday as part of "Operation Dhvast" in 8 states in cases involving terrorists, gangsters, and drug smugglers.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in collaboration with the Punjab and Haryana Police, raided 324 locations on Wednesday as part of “Operation Dhvast” in eight states in cases involving terrorists, gangsters, and drug smugglers.

During the operation, which began around 5.30 a.m., the agency seized a large cache of arms and ammunition, as well as other incriminating material. Several suspects were apprehended in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chandigarh, and Madhya Pradesh during the raids.

While the NIA conducted searches in 129 locations, the Punjab Police conducted searches in 143 locations across 17 districts, and the Haryana Police raided 52 locations across 10 districts.

According to the NIA, the day-long searches were aimed at breaking the terror nexus of Arsh Dalla, a designated terrorist, as well as feared gangsters like Lawrence Bishnoi, Chhenu Pehalwan, Deepak Teetar, Bhupi Rana, Vikash Lagarpuriya, Ashish Choudhary, Gurpreet Sekhon, Dilpreet Baba, Harsimrat Simma, and Anuradha.

“The focus of today’s raids was on weapon suppliers, financiers, logistic providers and hawala operators associated with the hardcore gangs working with drug smugglers and terrorists based out of other countries like Pakistan and Canada,” the Central anti-terror agency said.

The raiding parties seized a pistol, assorted ammunition (both live and used cartridges), in addition to 60 mobile phones, five DVRs, 20 SIM cards, one hard disk, one pen drive, one dongle, one WiFi router, a digital watch, two memory cards, 75 documents and Rs 39, 60,000 in cash.

These were the sixth in the series of such crackdowns launched by the NIA following the registration of three cases since August 2022 of conspiracies related to targeted killings, terror funding of pro-Khalistan outfits and extortion.

The sensational killing of Maharashtra builder Sanjay Biyani and international Kabaddi player Sandeep Nangal Ambia in Punjab last year is notable among these cases.

NIA investigations have revealed that the conspiracies were being hatched in jails of different states and were being executed by an organized network of operatives based abroad.

“The spotlight on these gangs has become sharper after reports of several prisons becoming havens of the deadly nexus and hubs of gang wars, which recently resulted in violence and murder inside Goindwal Jail and Tihar Jail”, said the NIA.

The NIA has further found that many criminals, who were leading the gangsters in India, had fled to countries like Pakistan, Canada, Malaysia and Australia, from where they have been engaged in planning serious crimes in association with criminals lodged in jails across India.

“These groups were carrying out targeted killings and raising funds for their nefarious activities through smuggling of drugs and weapons, hawala and extortion”, one of the NIA officials said.