Bishnoi cousin wanted for Moosewala murder extradited from Azerbaijan to Delhi

Aug 01, 2023 11:27 PM IST

Sachin Bishnoi’s arrest is the latest in a series of arrests that has broken the backbone of several foreign-based criminal networks in Punjab, said police

Gangster Sachin Bishnoi, who was involved in the murder of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, was extradited from the eastern Transcaucasian country of Azerbaijan and brought back to India on Tuesday, police officers aware of the matter said, adding that Sachin’s arrest is the latest in a series of arrests that has broken the backbone of several foreign-based criminal networks in Punjab.

Sachin Bishnoi in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI)
Sachin Bishnoi in New Delhi on Tuesday. (ANI)

Sachin was produced in a Delhi court, which remanded him in police custody for ten days, said police officers.

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Sachin alias Tilak Raj Toteja is a cousin of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, one of the alleged conspirators in the murder of Punjabi singer Moosewala in May last year. “Sachin’s extradition will reveal new details about Moosewala’s murder, as Sachin allegedly oversaw the logistics for the murder before fleeing India. We will try to find the missing links in the logistics and operations in the Punjabi singer’s murder,” said HGS Dhaliwal, the special commissioner of police (special cell).

Sidhu Moosewala, a singer and Congress leader was shot dead in Punjab by six shooters on May 29, 2022, a day after the Punjab government withdrew security for him and at least 400 others.

Sachin claimed responsibility for Moosewala’s murder on Facebook. Soon after Moosewala’s murder, the Delhi Police’s special cell received information that Sachin had fled India on a forged passport.

An extensive investigation and technical procedures revealed that Sachin had gone to Azerbaijan, where he conspired with his other accomplices to carry out the activities of his crime group, which was spread across Delhi and neighbouring states, said Dhaliwal. “As soon as it was confirmed that he had arrived in Azerbaijan, a Red Corner Notice was issued against him for his apprehension,” Dhaliwal added.

Sachin was detained in Azerbaijan in August last year and had been fighting a legal battle to avoid extradition to India. “Anticipating that he would go to any length to prevent his deportation, a team from the Delhi Police’s special cell travelled to Azerbaijan’s capital Baku on Sunday and began finalising the legal formalities to extradite Sachin on Monday morning,” said Dhaliwal.

“The procedure was finished on Monday with the combined efforts of Indian diplomatic representatives, and the officials in Baku immediately handed Sachin over to us. Our team arrived with Sachin in Delhi early Tuesday morning. His interrogation is ongoing,” said Dhaliwal.

“Sachin is a highly dangerous member of the Lawrence Bishnoi crime syndicate who is wanted in several cases. On March 30, 2022, a case was registered against Sachin and his associates at the Mohan Garden police station, alleging that the gang’s members injured a real estate businessman by shooting him in both legs and demanding 1 crore. During the investigation, teams from the special cell raided Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh in Rajasthan, as well as various locations in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, arresting all of the shooters and conspirators. The operation to extradite him from Azerbaijan and bring him back to India began under directions from home minister Amit Shah,” he said.

Explaining how this difficult extradition came through, officers aware of the matter said that Shah has been monitoring the developments in cases of fugitives and gangsters who have collaborated with terrorists. “He held regular meetings to review the efforts made by the police and gave instructions to concerned agencies. On many occasions, he made it clear that running away from the country was no longer a solution,” a senior officer added.

In August 2022, during a review of the working of the Delhi Police, Shah instructed the special cell and crime branch to root out every kind of inter-state and international criminal-terrorist nexus and organisation, according to police officers familiar with the matter.

“In compliance with this directive, we put in place a strategic plan to catch the fugitives, as a result of which the special cell arrested over 50 criminals associated with the criminal-terror nexus and recovered AK-47s, MP-5s, UBGLs, grenades, etc. from them,” Dhaliwal added. He said these arrests broke the backs and networks of foreign-based players like Rinda Sandhu, Landa Harike and Arshdeep Dalla.

The National Investigating Agency (NIA), which is probing a larger nexus of North India-based gangsters and pro-Khalistani elements, has found that the accused in the Sidhu Moosewala murder case were lodged in six jails — Lawrence Bishnoi and Jaggu Bhagwanpuria in Tihar jail, Manpreet alias Manna in Ferozpur jail, Saraj Singh alias Mantoo in special jail (Bathinda), and Manmohan Singh alias Mohana in Mansa jail — during the planning and execution of Moosewala’s murder.

The accused communicated with Canada-based Satinderjeet Singh alias Goldy Brar, who then directed the shooters to kill Moosewala after the singer’s security was reduced.

Dhaliwal said that Sachin’s arrest, just three months after the arrest of gangster Deepak Pahal alias Boxer from Mexico, has broken the backbone of several foreign-based criminal networks in Punjab. “Boxer was arrested in Mexico and extradited to Delhi in April of this year, and now, perhaps for the first time in the history of Delhi Police, a feared fugitive criminal like Sachin Bishnoi has been brought back to India from Azerbaijan,” he added.

Earlier this month, NIA extradited gangster Vikramjeet Singh alias Vikram Brar, an aide to Lawrence Bishnoi, from the UAE. Brar is a suspect in several cases involving the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, including the murder of Moosewala.


    In his reporting career of over 20 years, Sanjeev K Jha has covered bureaucracy, politics, ISI activities in border areas, music and Bollywood. Presently, he covers crime in the national Capital.

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