The illegal funding network of Canada-based pro-Khalistan terrorists has a strong Delhi link. The network has been nurtured by Pakistan’s ISI, which has roped in gangsters jailed in Tihar prison in Delhi, including Lawrence Bishnoi, Kaushal Chowdary, Amit Dagar and Navin Bali, to ensure that extortion money collected by their gang members reached pro-Khalistan terrorist Arshdeep Singh Gill, alias Arsh Dalla, and slain terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, say sources in security agencies.
Apart from receiving messages from ISI operatives in Pakistani cities such Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and Karachi, the gangsters in Tihar were also contacted by Dalla himself, said a source.
In exchange for sending crores of rupees to Dalla in Canada through the hawala channel, the ISI arranged sophisticated weapons for the operatives of the jailed gangsters. The weapons were supplied by ISI-supported criminal Asif Khan, who is based in Uttar Pradesh, said a source.
Officials in the Indian security establishment have already exposed the link between Dalla and Nijjar and how hawala money reaching Canada was being shared by the two. While Nijjar was alive, he got money from Indian gangsters—routed through Dalla—and he arranged weapons in India for gangsters belonging to Lawrence Bishnoi’s rival gang.
As part of raids against crimes being remote-controlled by dons lodged in jails, the NIA has found that many of the criminals and gangsters who were earlier leading gangs in India have fled abroad in recent years and are now pursuing their terror and violence-related activities from there.
As part of action to dismantle the deadly nexus between terrorists like Dalla and dreaded gangsters and drug smugglers, the NIA has managed to get nine criminals either declared as proclaimed offenders or got Red Corner Notices (RCNs) issued against them.
Indian intelligence sources have also found that slain terrorist Nijjar and pro-Khalistan separatists had established illegal immigration networks with the help of ISI. They used their establishments, including places of worship like gurudwaras controlled by them or their sympathisers, to sponsor visas for youth dreaming of settling in Canada.
Most of the youths lured to Canada by pro-Khalistan elements are offered low-skilled jobs like plumbers, truck drivers or religious duty performers at gurdwaras and given shelter in gurudwaras, said officials.
In the case of asylum-seekers, Nijjar and other separatist leaders like Bhagat Singh Brar and Parminder Pangli and Moninder Singh Bual helped the applicants to procure a letter from political parties in Punjab—on payment of a consideration of up to Rs 2 lakh—certifying that the applicant was a member of their outfit and facing persecution on religious grounds.
Once the youths land in Canada, they are handled by pro-Khalistan leaders for joining protests, wave Khalistani flags during protests and also indulge in activities against Indian diplomats, Indian communities and places of worship.
The pro-Khalistan elements also have strong ties with Punjab-based criminals and gangsters from groups controlled by Lakhbir Landa, Arsh Dalla and Davinder Bambhia to help members of their gangs to get Canadian visa easily.
During investigation in earlier cases, the Indian agencies found that dozens of pro-Khalistan separatists being hunted by the NIA or other Indian agencies in terror and criminal cases have applied for political asylum in Canada and other countries.
According to security agencies, 4,280 asylum claims on the basis of political persecution were rejected in the last 10 years. In the past five years, 1,000 people from Punjab have sought political asylum in various countries.