Indian-origin US fugitive lands in Punjab Police net
Patiala, December 2
The Punjab Police, when contacted following a tip off from the US, confirmed to The Tribune that the state police were trying to ascertain if the accused was linked to the recent multi-million drug nexus involving dismissed Punjab Police officer Jagdish Singh Bhola.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had announced a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the arrest of the fugitive. A team of crime branch of the Punjab Police reportedly arrested Dhami near Jalandhar a few days ago with the help of the Jalandhar police.
Sources said Dhami’s arrest had been kept a secret as they were trying to probe his role in the recent drug trade nexus bust. Dhami was reportedly putting up in Jalandhar allegedly under a fake name — Jujhar Singh — for over four years, police sources said.
Dhami (29) and his friend Gurpreet Singh Gosal (29) had entered the temple grounds of the Sacramento Sikh Society in the US on August 31, 2008 and fired several shots while a cricket tournament was in progress.
Hundreds of people, including children as young as seven, had gathered to compete in the Gurmukh Singh Johal Memorial Cricket Tournament. In the firing, Parmjit Pamma Singh (26) was killed and another man was injured. Earlier this year, Gosal was sentenced to 35 years in prison by a court in the US. Jalandhar Commissioner Ishwar Singh told The Tribune that Dhami was arrested and handed over to the crime branch team, which was handling the case. “We have no further information about his arrest,” he said.
Amandeep’s father Balbir Singh Dhami was gunned down on a North Laguna Creek street in May 2011, a few months after being released in a cocaine recovery case.
“We have arrested Amandeep Dhami in a cheating case for living under a false name as he is wanted by Interpol,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (Crime) Bhupinder Singh.
On Dhami’s possible deportation to the USA where he is wanted, Bhupinder said: “There is a laid down process for his handing over to Interpol.”
In 2008, Balbir Singh Dhami was among six defendants indicted in a drug trafficking case, according to federal court documents. Prosecutors alleged that Balbir conspired to use his ties to the trucking business - he was part owner of a Stockton Boulevard truck stop - to ferry large amounts of cocaine between Los Angeles, Sacramento, Canada and elsewhere in the country.
While senior crime branch officials denied to comment on the matter claiming investigations were still on, sources said district police officials had confirmed that the crime branch was trying to establish Amandeep’s alleged links with the drug mafia in India.
The Punjab Police had earlier named about half a dozen NRIs in North America for alleged links with the drug mafia in the state.
A senior police officer attached with investigations in the Jagdish Singh Bhola case said there were some queries from the top brass pertaining to Dhami’s involvement in the drug trade nexus foiled recently.
“We are trying to get more details from the arrested accused in the Bhola drug nexus but cannot say anything as for now,” he stated.
Wanted for murder