Gujarat ATS gets custody of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi in drugs haul case

 The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has got the custody of jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi in connection with a case of cross-border smuggling of drugs, an official said on Tuesday.

A Delhi court on Monday granted the transit remand of Bishnoi, who is lodged in Tihar jail, to the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad.

The ATS wants to question the gangster about his possible links in connection with the seizure 40 kg of heroin worth more than Rs 200 crore from a Pakistani fishing boat in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast in September last year.

“We have got Bishnoi’s custody and our teams are already on the way to Gujarat. He will be produced in a court in Kutch district by Tuesday evening,” a senior ATS official said.

On September 14 last year, the Gujarat ATS in a joint operation with the Indian Coast Guard intercepted a Pakistani fishing boat mid-sea near Jakhau harbour in Kutch district and seized 40 kg of heroin worth more than Rs 200 crore.

Six Pakistani nationals on board the boat, named ‘Al Tayyasa’, were also arrested at that time.

Subsequent investigations revealed the heroin was meant to be transported to northern states like Delhi and Punjab by road with the help of two Delhi residents – Sartaj Malik and Jaggi Singh alias Virpal Singh – who were supposed to receive the contraband. They were arrested later on.

The Gujarat police had also said the drugs were being smuggled as part of a racket run by two traffickers, including a Nigerian national, currently lodged in jails in Punjab.

The questioning of the eight accused had revealed that drug traffickers Meeraz Rehmani and Ani Chief Obinna alias Chief (who is a Nigerian) were running the racket while sitting in jail. Rehmani was lodged at a jail in Kapurthala and Obinna in Amritsar jail. It is alleged that both of them were working at the behest of Bishnoi.

They were running the racket using WhatsApp and VOIP (Internet phone) calls, police earlier said.

In the Morbi drug seizure case of 2021, Gujarat police had also found the role of Bharat Bhushan alias Bhola Shooter, a member of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang who was allegedly running the drug network from a Punjab jail. Bhushan died in jail recently. PTI PJT PD

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