Strange IndiaStrange India

After Sidhu Moosewala’s murder, con gang leaders based in Pakistan spotted an opportunity, say cops.Chandigarh/New Delhi: A gang of conmen — seven of them arrested for extortion calls to politicians in Haryana, Punjab and Delhi — used singer Sidhu Moose Wala’s murder as the fear factor after their leaders in Pakistan hit upon the idea. Do they actually have a link with the killing? Police have found none so far. Haryana Police today said the these men had already been defrauding people with calls saying they’d won a lottery or contests like ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. After Moose Wala’s murder on May 29, gang leaders in Pakistan “activated” their men in India to use it for extortion. “Already, over the last eight months they sent Rs 2.77 crore to Pakistan using 727 bank accounts in Bihar,” said Sandeep Dhankhar, an officer of Haryana Police’s Special Task Force (STF), in Sonipat today. They would pay people to use their accounts to receive the crime money. After keeping 10-15 per cent, they would route the rest to Pakistan using ‘hawala’ — which means they would give the money to someone here, who would then arrange for a similar amount to be paid to the gang members in Pakistan. The police have said that the extortionists aren’t linked to any terror organisation but were simply using these means to take money out of India. After Sidhu Moose Wala was shot dead in Punjab’s Mansa district, Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar said he’d got it done. Police said jailed gang-leader Lawrence Bishnoi ordered the “revenge” hit as he believed Moose Wala was connected to murder of one of their men. That’s when the call-fraud gang members in Pakistan and West Asia spotted an opportunity. They gave numbers of some Haryana MLAs to their operatives in Bihar. Four MLAs got threat calls in the last two weeks of June, as did some politicians in Punjab and Delhi. The callers spoke in Punjabi, besides Mumbai slang, saying “you will meet Moose Wala’s fate” — which fed the theory that the Bishnoi-Brar gang may be behind it.On the MLAs’ complaints, Haryana Police formed the special team. This team got a threat too, after it arrested a man for allegedly supplying weapons to Goldy Brar’s gang. In coordination with local cops, the STF eventually arrested two of the men — Dulesh Alam of Bihar, and Badre Alam of UP — from Mumbai. The other four — Amit Yadav, Saddiq Anwar, Sanoj Kumar and Kaish Alam, of Bihar — were arrested from the state’s Muzaffarpur, in July. And another man from Bihar, Abulesh Alam, was arrested this month. Police found 92 ATM cards, 56 SIM cards, 24 mobile phones, besides about Rs 4 lakh, on them. Such gangs keep an eye on criminal acts in India that they can use as smokescreens for extortion, according to the police.  “Kaish Alam stayed in Dubai for three years. That’s when he got connected to the gang leaders He returned to India recently,” said the STF officer.To track the gang down, some STF members became decoy targets by “managing to come on the gang’s radar”. After getting extortion calls, they noted down their particulars, such as bank accounts, after which came the arrests, the STF chief told reporters. The STF learnt about 10 Pakistani residents through whom the threats and extortion calls were routed, he said.

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