Senior Akali leader Malkit Singh Keetu was shot dead at his native village Bilaspur in this district on Monday morning.
The 62-year-old leader was a two-time MLA from Barnala. The incident took place around 8.10 AM.
According to SSP Surjit Singh Grewal, the victim was standing outside his house when some armed men opened fire at him. Keetu died on his way to hospital.
Keetu, SAD in-charge of Barnala constituency, was shot at allegedly by his nephews, who had a land dispute with him.
His son Kulwant Singh Kanta complained to the police that after meeting some prominent people at the main gate of their house as Keetu tried to go inside, five armed men shot at him.
According to villagers, Keetu did not have a child and had adopted his nephew Kanta, president of the Barnala truck union.
Keetu had won from Barnala assembly constituency in 1997 as an independent and in 2002 as a SAD candidate. In 1997 he defeated SAD candidate Rajinder Kaur and lost to Congress candidate Kewal Singh Dhillon in 2007 and 2012.
The SSP said the attackers fled in a Swift car. Senior police officials reached the spot and found that the attackers had used a .315-bore gun. Keetu received four bullets, he said, adding that primary investigation had shown that he had a land dispute with his nephews. He said the police had conducted raids at various places to nab the accused.
The body after the post-mortem at the civil hospital was handed over to the family. Many SAD leaders and workers from Barnala constituency reached Bilaspur village in the evening to pay their last respects to the leader.
The SSP said a case had been registered against Gurpreet Singh, Harpreet Singh, Jaspreet Singh, nephews of the deceased, and Ladi Singh, residents of Bilaspur village, besides Kala Singh of Deepgarh village in Barnala district under the IPC and Arms Act at Nihal Singh Wala police station.
Director general of police Sumedh Singh Saini has sent SK Sharma, additional director general of police, law and order, to Moga to supervise the investigation. Sharma has been asked to camp at Moga till the accused were arrested.
Meanwhile, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal mourned Keetu's demise. In a condolence message, Badal described Keetu as a disciplined soldier of the party and a votary of the oppressed sections. He recalled how Keetu tirelessly worked to strengthen the party at the grassroots level.
Sharing his sympathies with the bereaved family, the chief minister prayed to God to grant peace to the departed soul and courage to the family to bear the loss.
Public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia, in his condolence message, said the selfless service by Kittu to SAD would always be remembered. He said Kittu was a mass leader who had worked for the common man. The minister expressed sympathy with the family.