The four people behind the killing of ASI Gurdev Singh on GT Road during the intervening night of Sunday and Monday continue to be at large even as police have identified three of them.
“Statewide raids are being conducted to trace the accused and police teams have been dispatched in different directions. We are expecting to arrest the accused soon,” superintendent of police (SP) HPS Khakh told Hindustan Times.
Without revealing the identity of the accused, Khakh said all of them were into drug peddling and had criminal background. Apart from issuing red alert in the entire state, airports have also been alerted so that they could not flee abroad, he added.
Besides cops from the Jalandhar zone, police personnel from Patiala zone are also conducting raids at the possible hideouts of the accused, Khakh said, adding that director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini is personally monitoring the entire operation, which is being led by Jalandhar range inspector general of police Gurpreet Deo.
Asked about cordoning off of Bohani village of Phagwara by police in large numbers late Monday night, the SP admitted that the police were deployed but the information regarding the presence of the accused in the village proved false. The SP said it was a case of “mistaken identity”.
Although the SP refused to divulge much on the operation being conducted to nab the accused, highly-placed sources in police told HT that three of the four accused have been identified as Palwinder Singh alias Pinda, a resident of Nihaluwal village of Lohian, Rajinder Singh alias Mintoo, a resident of Fatehgarh Sahib, and Talwinder Singh, a resident of Tut Kalan village of Jalandhar.
Sources added that police had found a mobile phone belonging to the accused from the site where they scuffled with the ASI. On the basis of information from the phone, police are zeroing in on several phone numbers and keeping surveillance. Even several close associates of the accused, including family members, have been rounded up to know about the hideouts of the culprits, sources added.
Assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Gurdev Singh (54) of the Punjab Police was shot near a restaurant on the Jalandhar-Phagwara national highway, about 10 km from here, around 1am on Monday.
On the fateful night, Binder, a head constable of highway patrol party, went to a toilet in the restaurant where he heard clicks of a cigarette lighter from a cabin. Though it was locked from inside, he apparently felt that drugs were being consumed. Binder knocked at the door and after no reply came he left the place and told 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 with ASI Gurdev Singh. The ASI told the man to stop but the latter starting running. The ASI gave a 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 ASI from a 9mm carbine.
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.