One of the key plotters of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala's killing fled India on a fake passport more than a month before the murder, the police have said, in a lapse that could have prevented the incident had it been detected earlier.
According to the Delhi Police's Special Cell, Sachin Bishnoi was in India till April 21. Moose Wala was shot dead on May 29.
Sachin Bishnoi is a close associate of jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi - believed to be one of the two main conspirators of the rapper's killing, along with Canada-based Goldy Brar.
"He managed to get a passport on a fake name and fled India on April 21," senior police officer HGS Dhaliwal told NDTV.
The police have found that the Delhi Regional Passport Office had issued the passport to Sachin Bishnoi in the name of Tilak Raj Toteja with an address in Delhi's Sangam Vihar.
While in Delhi, Sachin Bishnoi prepared the entire blueprint of the Moose Wala's murder and arranged shelters, money and vehicles for the shooters, the police said.
Then, with the help of his fake passport, he flew to Dubai and from there to Azerbaijan, they added.
The revelation is bound to raise questions about the associate of a known gangster managing to get his hands on a fake passport.
Any red flags detected while the passport was being issued may have disrupted the gang's plans of killing Moose Wala who was shot dead in the Jawaharke village of Punjab's Mansa district.
The incident took place a day after his security was pared down by the Punjab police along with that of 424 others.
The gruesome murder, in which the 28-year-old was riddled with bullets, rocked the state and shocked fans worldwide.
Parallel investigations by the police in Punjab and Delhi have led to more than a dozen arrests so far, including some of the shooters.
After initially calling it a result of inter-gang rivalry - a charge strongly denied by the singer's family - the police have been tight-lipped about the motive.