An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of the Punjab Police was shot dead near a restaurant on the Jalandhar-Phagwara national highway, about 10 km from here, around 1am on Monday. The deceased was identified as Gurdev Singh (54).
The ASI and head constable Binder Singh, deployed on highway patrol duty, had arrived at Haveli restaurant for routine checking late on Sunday night, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Inder Bir Singh told Hindustan Times.
Binder went to the toilet, where he heard clicks of a cigarette lighter from a cabin, which was locked from inside, and apparently smelled a drug being consumed. Binder knocked at the door, but since there was no reply, he left the place after telling the restaurant’s security guard to keep watch.
About 10 minutes later, a man came out of the toilet. The guard informed the head constable, who was standing outside the restaurant along with Gurdev Singh. The ASI told the man to stop, but he starting running. The ASI gave chase and managed to catch up with him.
“During a scuffle between the ASI and the accused, three of the latter’s accomplices came in a white Verna car. One of them fired at the cop from a 9mm carbine,” the SSP said.
Hearing the shots, the police patrol vehicle chased the Verna. The cops opened fire, but the assailants sped away towards Jalandhar.
The ASI received two bullets, one just above the heart and the other in the abdomen. He was rushed to the Phagwara civil hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
The SSP said a case under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 392 (robbery) and 34 (criminal act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 25 of the Arms Act had been registered against the four accused.
Two of the accused have been identified as Palwinder Singh, alias Pinda, of Nihaluwal village (Shahkot in Jalandhar district) and Rajinder Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib district.
Palwinder has already been booked in four cases - two with the Jalandhar (rural) police, one in Kapurthala district and another in Patiala district. He was sentenced to one-and-a-half-years’ imprisonment in a case under the Arms Act and is currently out on bail, sources said.
Senior police officials, including inspector general of police (IGP) Jalandhar range, Gurpreet Deo, and IGP (traffic) Sharad Satya Chouhan reached the spot. Six shells of the carbine have been recovered, said superintendent of police (SP) HPS Khakh.
“We have procured the restaurant’s CCTV footage which shows all accused. A statewide search has been launched to arrest them,” Khakh said. He added that the Verna’s registration number (PB-08-6162) was apparently fake.
11:30pm (Sunday): White Verna car arrives at Haveli restaurant on Jalandhar-Delhi highway; four persons have snacks from food stalls before entering the 24-hours-open restaurant for dinner
12:20am (Monday): Highway patrol team reaches restaurant; ASI Gurdev Singh and head constable Binder Singh enter for routine checking, leaving head constable Balkar Singh in patrol vehicle parked outside Haveli
12:29am: Binder goes to toilet, hears clicking sounds from a cabin; knocks but gets no response
12:40am: A man comes out of the toilet; ASI tells him to stop, but he starts running towards the highway; ASI catches up with him
12:43am: The accused’s three car-borne accomplices open fire on ASI
12:46am: Accused jumps into Verna, which speeds away towards Jalandhar, chased by highway patrol team’s vehicle; cops open fire, but fail to stop Verna
12:55am: ASI brought to Phagwara civil hospital; declared brought dead
February 5, 2012: ASI Harbhajan Singh, posted with Barnala police, found murdered at an abandoned brick kiln near Chapa village in Barnala district
December 4, 2012: ASI Ravinder Pal Singh shot dead in Amritsar after he tried to save his daughter from molesters; Akali worker among the accused
March 5, 2013: ASI Kulbir Singh found dead at Geobala village in Tarn Taran district. He was leading a police team to make preventive arrests of protesting farmer leaders
March 29, 2013: ASI Ravinder Pal Singh Mangat, on traffic duty during a VIP visit, assaulted by truck driver; he succumbed to his injuries.