Authorities of Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad stated that gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, who has been lodged in the jail since August, had no role in the Facebook post that emerged Thursday claiming responsibility for the killing of Sukhdool Singh Gill alias Sukha Duneke in Canada.
Duneke, an alleged ally of the Bambiha gang, was shot dead by unidentified assailants Wednesday. A day later, Punjab’s rival gangs of Bishnoi and Jaggu Bhagwanpuria took to Facebook in separate posts to claim responsibility for the murder.
However, Shweta Shrimali, Superintendent of Sabarmati Central Jail, told The Indian Express, “It is not the case that Lawrence posted this from here (in jail). It is possible that there are several fake social media accounts operating under his name, it is possible it could have been posted by anyone… Regarding the social media post, I can assure that it was neither posted by him nor did he consent to such a post because nobody came to visit him and nobody asked for his consent. It can be anyone who posted this, without his approval or consent.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in an order dated August 30, had restrained Bishnoi’s movement in prison under provisions of Section 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code by which the government can direct that any person shall not be removed from the prison in which he or they may be confined or detained.
Bishnoi, who was lodged in New Delhi’s Tihar jail, was first taken into custody by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in April in relation to the seizure of 38.994 kg heroin worth Rs 194.97 crore off the Jakhau coast in Kutch in September 2022.
The ATS had taken him into custody a second time, in August, after UAPA charges were added against him in the same heroin seizure case after bringing him on transit warrant from the Bathinda jail. After sending him to four days’ of ATS custody, he was moved to Sabarmati Central jail in judicial custody.
Upon the completion of its investigation, the case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), said an ATS official.
Bishnoi, who was in NIA custody for five days from September 14 to 18 after the restrictive order by MHA was temporarily revoked, was back in the Sabarmati jail on September 18 on judicial custody.
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Meanwhile, Bishnoi’s lawyer Anand Brahmbhatt said the accused was not being allowed to even meet his counsel. “The NIA public prosecutor informed that a Central government order has been passed under CrPC Section 268 that has been presented before the court. I went to meet him in jail as his advocate, but I was not permitted to meet him,” he said.
In addition, objecting to him being referred to as a “gangster and terrorist”, Bishnoi, in an application filed before a special NIA court in Ahmedabad on September 18, urged the court to pass orders in this regard to the investigative agency. “I have my own perception and concepts to view my past and future but I strongly object if anyone addresses me as a terrorist or a gangster… I have never been convicted in any case till date. Yet, I have been treated as a convicted prisoner,” Bishnoi stated in his application.
He submitted that he was a representative of a students’ union, has been in jail for nearly 10 years and “constantly wrongly pinned in different cases by different agencies”.