Video purportedly shows jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi wishing Pakistan gangster Shahzad Bhatti on Eid

Gujarat government orders probe; Bishnoi was brought to Ahmedabad from Punjab in August 2023 by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad to probe his role in a cross-border drug smuggling case

Published - June 18, 2024 10:52 pm IST - Ahmedabad/Chandigarh

A video purportedly showing gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, lodged in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Central Prison since August 2023, speaking to Pakistani gangster Shahzad Bhatti on a video call, surfaced on Tuesday, prompting the Gujarat government to order a probe. File.

A video purportedly showing gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, lodged in Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Central Prison since August 2023, speaking to Pakistani gangster Shahzad Bhatti on a video call, surfaced on Tuesday, prompting the Gujarat government to order a probe. File.

A video purportedly showing gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, lodged in Ahmedabad's Sabarmati Central Prison since August 2023, speaking to Pakistani gangster Shahzad Bhatti on a video call, surfaced on Tuesday, prompting the Gujarat government to order a probe.

In the 19-second unverified video, Bishnoi is purportedly seen extending wishes on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha (observed in India on Monday) to Bhatti, who tells the former the festival would be celebrated in Pakistan on the following day. On hearing this, Bishnoi tells Bhatti he would call him the next day to extend Eid wishes.

PTI could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.

As the clip went viral on social media platforms, the State government stepped in and ordered a probe.

Gujarat government spokesperson and Education Minister Rushikesh Patel said in Ahmedabad that the State Home Department, which falls under Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, had already ordered an inquiry into the contents of the video.

"I learnt about this issue just today (Tuesday) morning. Gujarat Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi has already ordered a probe into it and asked the authorities to go into detail. Every aspect related to the purported video, such as whether it is new or an old one, will be investigated," Mr. Patel said.

Bishnoi was brought to Ahmedabad from Punjab in August 2023 by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad to probe his role in a cross-border drug smuggling case. After the completion of his remand, he was sent to judicial custody and lodged in the Sabarmati Central Prison.

Bishnoi is one of the key accused in the 2022 murder of popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala. Police in Mumbai have also found that the Bishnoi gang was behind the firing outside actor Salman Khan’s home in Bandra on April 14, 2024.

Meanwhile, in Chandigarh, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia shared the video by tagging it with a post on social media platform X, claiming Bishnoi was speaking to a Pakistan gangster on a video call from a Gujarat jail.

"Recently, Bishnoi wished Pakistani gangster Shahzad Bhatti on Eid from Gujarat Jail, demonstrating his ability to operate freely behind bars," Mr. Majithia said.

"Despite giving a live interview from Punjab jail, Punjab's CM and Home Minister Bhagwant Mann formed an SIT to investigate, but the probe shows ZERO RESULTS," Mr. Majithia wrote in his post. The SAD leader pointed out that the Bishnoi gang had also been threatening the actor, Mr. Salman Khan.

"His gang continues to threaten Salman Khan, with multiple attacks on Khan's residence. Such activities pose significant risks to public safety when gangsters can act without restraint even while incarcerated," Mr. Majithia said.

Last year, a private news channel ran two interviews with Bishnoi. However, the Punjab Police had then claimed that it was highly improbable the interview of the dreaded gangster had been conducted in any of jails in the northern State when he was in police custody.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had later directed the Punjab Police to register two First Information Reports (FIRs) in connection with the two interviews of Bishnoi that were aired by a private news channel in March 2023.

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