Gangster Kulbir Singh Naruana and four others were booked for opening fire with a countrymade pistol and injuring a member of a rival group at the central jail here on Thursday.
Following the incident, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered and three jail officials have been suspended for laxity.
Naruana, a close aide of a local SAD leader, and his men allegedly attacked Gurdeep Singh Mehal Kalan, belonging to the rival Sekhon gang, led by Gurpreet Sekhon, who is also lodged in the same jail. Gurdeep was attacked when the prisoners were coming out of their barracks in the morning.
Naruana allegedly fired two bullets from the pistol. Splinters from a bullet hit Gurdeep, who got injured. In retaliation, members of the Sekhon group allegedly beat up Jatinder Singh, Naruana’s man.
Both Gurdeep and Jatinder were taken to the local civil hospital and later referred to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot, where their condition is said to be stable.
When the media asked Naruana about the incident while he was being taken to the Patiala jail, he said, “We had old rivalry with the other group and have taught them a lesson.” When asked as to who gave him the weapon, Naruana said the pistol was already in jail.
However, talking to the media at the civil hospital, an injured Gurdeep claimed that Naruana would often flaunt his relations with a local politician and had paid Rs 1.5 lakh in bribe to the jail officials to get the pistol.
On the other hand, the police claimed that the pistol was thrown over a part of the jail wall that touched Bhagu Road. DSP Sukhdev Singh Brar said, “The primary investigation suggests that the pistol was thrown into the jail over the wall from outside.”
SDM Damanjit Singh Mann, DSP Gurdarshan Singh and DSP Brar rushed to the jail following the incident. A case under Sections 307, 323, 120-B, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered against Naruana, Aman, Jaspreet, Jatinder Laddi and Fateh alias Jugraj.
Nine members of the rival gang have also been booked under Section 34 of the Jail Manual Act. They include gang leader Gurpreet Sekhon, Gurpreet Lamber, Vikas Chhota, Labhi and Ramandeep.
The three jail officials who have been suspended are assistant jail superintendent Balbir Singh, head warden Harbans Singh and warden Labh Singh.
Naruana’s crime trail
Naruana gained notoriety as a criminal after the attack on police personnel at the Bathinda civil hospital in March 2013. He had thrown chilli powder into cops’ eyes to help convict Gurwinder Bindu escape
He joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) shortly before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the presence of Talwandi Sabo MLA Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, who had then quit the Congress (Sidhu later fought the assembly byelection on the SAD ticket and won)
In July 2014, Naruana and his two accomplices, Charanjit Singh of Gidderbaha in Muktsar district and Rajdeep Shah of Jai Singh Wala village near Bathinda, were arrested. Three pistols and nine cartridges were recovered from them
On January 11, 2015, he allegedly tried to take forcible possession of a house in Bathinda. The aggrieved party went to the police station to get an FIR lodged against Naruana.
He followed them there and when cops tried to stop him, he fired at a police official. Two cases were registered against him and he was put behind bars. Last month, he posted pictures of his comfy jail life on Facebook. Police, however, failed to recover the mobile phones used to upload the pictures