Chandigarh: After the gruesome murder of Sidhu Moosewala, the increasing incidents of extortion in the state have raised question of deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab.
In the last six months, 58 cases were registered in 14 districts for ransom calls. Three people were also killed for not paying ransom, in which a police gunman was also killed.
In Moga and Tarn Taran, fires were opened at houses for not paying the ransom. The highest number of calls were made to 34 people in Ludhiana, out of which FIRs were lodged in 13. Apart from this, there is a lot more number of people in the state who did not even go to the police. Some extension calls were made by experts and local criminals, who were traced. Foreign numbers were not traced, police officials said.
Clothing traders targeted
In three months, two cloth traders were killed for ransom in the state. On October 11, 2022, gangster Landa group called up Gujranwala, a readymade garment trader from Rasoolpur village in Tarn Taran, and demanded a ransom of Rs 20 lakh. When he refused, he was shot in his shop. On November 1, a ransom of Rs 30 lakh was demanded from garment trader Bhupinder Chawla in Nakodar. He was also shot dead on December 8 along with his Punjab Police gunman.
A network of extensions run by gangsters
Gangsters Lakhbir Landa, Arshdeep Dalla, Sukhudul Sukha and Goldy Brar are allegedly running a network of extensions from abroad. For these, extortion is done by active operatives in Punjab. They open fire on those who do not pay the ransom so that panic can be created. In 6 months, more than two dozen accused have been caught by the police.
Extortion cases registered in Punjab in six months
Jalandhar – 6 cases (4 people informed the police but did not give a complaint, 1 was killed including a gunman)
Amritsar – 7 cases
Ludhiana- 13 cases (extension calls made to 34 people)
Ropar-1 case (7 people got calls, 6 did not complain)
Moga – 9 cases (firing at 3 houses for non-payment of ransom)
Ferozepur – 5 cases
Bathinda – 3 cases
Tarn Taran – 3 cases (firing at home after ransom was not paid)
Barnala – 2 cases
Kapurthala – 1 case
Pathankot – 1 case
Mansa – 1 case (murder for non-payment of ransom)
Sangrur – 1 case
Nawanshahr – 2 cases
Muktsar – 1 case (child kidnapped ransom demanded)
Faridkot – 1 case.