Lawrence Bishnoi, a jailed gangster, has been handed over to the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in connection with a cross-border drug smuggling case, according to a police official cited by news agency PTI. Bishnoi was granted transit remand by a Delhi court on Monday to allow the ATS to question him about his possible links to the seizure of 40 kg of heroin, worth over Rs 200 crore, from a Pakistani fishing boat in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast in September last year.
The Gujarat ATS, in a joint operation with the Indian Coast Guard, intercepted the Pakistani fishing boat named ‘Al Tayyasa’ mid-sea near Jakhau harbor in the Kutch district and arrested six Pakistani nationals on board. Investigations revealed that the heroin was intended for transportation to northern states like Delhi and Punjab via road with the help of two Delhi residents, Sartaj Malik and Jaggi Singh alias Virpal Singh, who was subsequently arrested. The Gujarat police had also stated that the drugs were part of a larger racket operated by two traffickers, including a Nigerian national, who was currently in jail in Punjab.
The questioning of the eight accused revealed that the drug traffickers, Meeraz Rehmani and Ani Chief Obinna alias Chief (a Nigerian), were running the racket from jail with the support of Bishnoi, police informed PTI. Bishnoi is believed to have been operating the racket through WhatsApp and VOIP (Internet phone) calls. In another drug seizure case in Morbi in 2021, the Gujarat police uncovered the role of Bharat Bhushan alias Bhola Shooter, a member of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, who allegedly ran the drug network from a Punjab jail. Bhushan recently died in jail.
A senior ATS official stated that Bishnoi will be produced in a court in the Kutch district by Tuesday evening.