Punjab Police seize huge cache of sophisticated weapons, money, vehicles

The Punjab Police have arrested “most-wanted gangster” Baljinder Singh, alias Billa Mandiala. Another “notorious gangster”, Sukhjinder, and five other members of the ‘Billa gang’, have also been arrested. A large consignment of sophisticated weapons suspected to have been smuggled from Pakistan, as well as cash and drones, have also been seized.

Mandiala allegedly had links with now reportedly deceased Pakistan-based KLF chief Harmeet Singh Happy as well as Germany-based ‘Bagga’ of the KZF.

According to a statement issued on behalf of Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta, the arrests were made in a joint operation by the OCCU team from Chandigarh; Counter-Intelligence Jalandhar unit; and Kapurthala police on Thursday.

Those arrested were identified as Baljinder Singh, alias Billa Mandiala (resident of Mandiala, Gurdaspur); Sukhjinder Singh (Kamoke Beas, Amritsar); Mohit Sharma (Kapurthala); Lovepreet Singh; Mangal Singh; and Maninderjeet Singh, alias Happy; and (another) Lovepreet Singh, alias Lovely (Amarkot, Valtoha, Tarn Taran).

Punjab Police seize huge cache of sophisticated weapons, money, vehicles

Baljinder Singh was wanted in more than 18 criminal cases, including those of murder, attempt to murder and smuggling of weapons/drugs.

All arrested suspects have been kept separately, as they are being tested for COVID-19.

The seizures include two .30-bore drum machine guns, three pistols (SIG Sauer, made in Germany), two Glock pistols (made in Austria), two .30-bore pistols, one .32-bore pistol, one .315 bore rifle, 341 cartridges, two drum magazines, 14 pistol magazines, and Rs 3 lakh Indian currency and 100 Australian dollars.

Members of the police team that arrested the gangsters pose with the suspects.

Terming it as “one of the biggest caches of highly sophisticated weapons from a criminal gang”, Gupta said the Sig Suaer pistols were being used by members of the US Secret Service, which protects the President.

The DGP said most weapons were learnt to have come across the Indo-Pak border in multiple consignments. The police are also investigating the role of militants in the supply of illegal weapons.

A spokesperson said a Toyota Fortuner, Etios Lava and Alto cars were also seized from the criminals, along with some fake documents.

The police suspect part of a consignment of AK-74 rifles that was pushed into the Mamdot area of Ferozepur sector on September 24, 2019, was also meant for the Billa Mandiala gang.

The DGP said Gurmeet Chohan, AIG OCCU, had received inputs that Billa Mandiala and his associates were taking shelter in Kapurthala area with a large consignment of arms. DSP OCCU Bikram Brar was assigned the task, supported by 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. A case has been registered under sections 384, 465, 467, 468, 471, 473, and 489 of the IPC, 13 and 18 of the UAPA, and Section 25 of the Arms Act at Sultanpur Lodhi police station.

The police said Billa Mandiala had revealed that he was in contact with various Pakistan-based weapons and drugs smugglers, including Mirza and Ahmdeen, and had already received several consignments of weapons and drugs from them, mostly in the Ferozepur area.

Mirza was allegedly working as a courier on the Indo-Pak border for operatives of the Khalistan Libration Force based in Pakistan and India in the recent past, and had pushed many weapon consignments into Indian territory. Billa Mandiala also revealed that he was in touch with gangster Gurpreet Singh Sekhon, who is currently lodged in Patiala jail.