Warning shots: From Gippy Grewal to Salman Khan, Lawrence Bishnoi’s 'ops' continue unabated

IANS Photo

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) The recent firing incident at the Mumbai residence of veteran Bollywood actor Salman Khan has once again thrust the operations of the Lawrence Bishnoi syndicate into the spotlight, sparking fears of their expanding influence with seemingly no restraint on their activities.

Anmol Bishnoi, a member of the syndicate and the cousin of incarcerated gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last year in November, the Bishnoi group also claimed responsibility for the gunfire at Punjabi singer Gippy Grewal's residence in the peaceful White Rock neighbourhood of Vancouver, Canada.

A Facebook account with the name Lawrance Bishnoi personally announced his involvement in the orchestrated attack.

In the post, he directly confronted Grewal, asserting in Punjabi, "While you may regard Salman Khan as a brother, it is now imperative for your 'brother' to step in and rescue you. This message extends to Salman Khan as well – do not harbour the illusion that Dawood or anyone can save you from us. Your impassioned reaction to the demise of Sidhu Moose Wala did not escape our notice. We are well aware of the kind of person he was and the illicit connections he maintained."

"You closely associated with Vicky during his time in Middukhera, and subsequently, you expressed even greater sorrow for Sidhu. You have now come under our scrutiny. Consider this a teaser; the complete narrative will be unveiled soon. Feel free to seek refuge in any country, but bear in mind, death does not require a visa; it arrives uninvited."

A few hours after the killing of popular Punjabi singer-turned-politician Sidhu Moose Wala in May 2022, a Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar took responsibility for the murder. The name of Lawrence Bishnoi has also come to the fore in the killing.

One Vikramjit Singh Middukhera alias Vicky Middukhera (33), a Youth Akali Dal leader popularly known as Vicky Middukhera was shot dead on August 7, 2021. There were allegations that Moose Wala had directed his manager Shagunpreet Singh to execute the killing, however, the claims have not been proven yet.

According to official sources, the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, despite being behind bars, continues to operate with impunity, particularly in northern India, spanning regions such as Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab.

Their reach even extends internationally to countries like Italy, Armenia, Canada, America, Dubai, the Philippines, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. In the age of social media, these gangs flaunt their dominance and allure millions of followers through various social media platforms, enticing more youths to join their ranks.

The nexus between Lawrence Bishnoi and Haryana's notorious criminal Sandeep alias Kala Jathedi is one of the syndicate's significant alliances. This partnership also involves other key members such as Rajkumar alias Raju Basodi, Rohit Godara, Naresh Sethi and Anil Chhippi.

The alarming extent of the syndicate's operations was also highlighted in the national capital’s Dwarka on Sunday, where gunshots were fired at a real estate businessman's office.

Allegedly carried out by members of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang, the attackers left behind a note demanding a hefty sum of Rs one crore as "protection money". Initial investigations have revealed that the jailed gangsters Naresh Sethi and Ajay Zaildar, known associates of Bishnoi, were involved in the attack.

The modus operandi of the assailants was typical of gangland tactics. Two gang members on a motorcycle parked opposite the target's office before crossing the road and opening fire, causing damage to the property. Subsequently, they left a threatening note before fleeing the scene.

The expansion of the Lawrence Bishnoi and Kala Jathedi alliance has seen collaborations with other notorious criminals such as Sube Gujjar from Gurugram and Anandpal Singh from Rajasthan. Additionally, they have joined forces with Jitender Gogi, whose demise was orchestrated by rival gangster Tillu Tajpuria.

A notable strategy employed by these gangs is capitalising on inter-gang rivalries, forming temporary alliances to bolster their control over territories and consolidate power.

As per the National Investigation Agency (NIA) charge sheet submitted in court, Lawrence Bishnoi did not directly talk to any shooter but routed them through his close associates, including Satinderjit Singh alias Goldy Brar, and Anmol Bishnoi.

The NIA also said that its investigation has revealed that the distribution of work used to be done with careful planning, and the gang members were assigned different tasks. The matters about funding were mostly decided by Lawrence Bishnoi, Goldy Brar, Jaggu Bhagwanpuria and Darmanjot Kahlon.

"Bishnoi was intentionally running the entire operations from behind the jail. He was so adept in operating from inside the jail that he didn't apply for bail in any case. It is also revealed that a considerable part of the money generated through extortion activities was sent to Canada, the US, Dubai, Thailand and Australia for the use of their associates/family members based abroad and also for funding the activities of pro-Khalistan extremists," the charge sheet read.

The NIA has further mentioned that kidnapping, murder, extortion for ransom, cross-border smuggling of sophisticated weapons and narcotics, in-land smuggling of contraband and illegal liquor smuggling were the main activities of this terror syndicate.

On Sunday, after the firing, Anmol Bishnoi, based in the US, also described the incident as the "first and last warning" for Salman Khan, ominously decreeing that the next time "the bullets won’t be fired at walls or an empty home", indicating the actor would be directly targeted.

In a post on Facebook, Anmol Bishnoi posted a message, purportedly on behalf of other ‘Bishnoi group’ baddies like Goldy Brar, Rohit Godara, and Kala Jathari, saying "they (the gang) seek only peace, but if justice from atrocity can be achieved only through war, then war is okay".

"Salman Khan, this is just to show you a trailer, to make you understand our power and not to test our patience further… This is the first and final warning to you. Next time, the bullets won’t be fired at walls or empty homes. You consider Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel as your gods, but we have two dogs named after them… This hint is enough and I don’t want to say anything more," Anmol Bishnoi said in the post, signed off with ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

The post came hours after the brazen firing at the sea-facing Bandra home of Salman Khan around 5 a.m. on Sunday, creating ripples in the entertainment and political world. At least two unidentified persons sporting helmets came speeding on a motorcycle, and fired at least four shots in the direction of Galaxy Apartment, before zooming off on the dark and deserted road.