The district police have nabbed three people allegedly part of a nine-member gang that robbed and injured 16 members of two families on the intervening night of May 12 and 13 in Kamalpur and Mothanwa villages. The mother of one of the accused was also arrested on the charges of sheltering the accused.
SSP Kapurthala Inderbir Singh said the accused had been arrested during a special search operation launched in jhuggis (temporary shelters) on the roadside.
"A police party led by Sultanpur Lodhi SHO was carrying out a search of jhuggis outside the RCF, when four people, including the woman, tried to flee. They were nabbed. Two passbooks and two identity cards belonging to the victims' families were recovered from their dwelling," he said.
On interrogation, they confirmed their involvement in the Kapurthal robbery and another robbery held under Zira police station of Ferozepur district on Tuesday. The accused, Munim, Ashiq, Raju alias Usman alias Pappu and Zareena, alias Dilshana, mother of Usma, all are residents of Dhariwal, Gurdaspur.
He claimed that investigation had revealed that the accused were residents of Uttar Pradesh. The woman Zareena had only been sheltering and feeding the accused.
On the modus operandi, the SSP said: "The gang did not use weapons. On their way to a target house, they broke heavy tree branches to hit heads of their victims. On the information provided by the three, we have identified the spots where they used to gather before committing a dacoity."
He said the police cracked this case, as vital clues were collected from the some of the spots where the gang met that night.
The culprits have also disclosed the names of their six accomplices as Khusneed, Lukman alias Chharu, Kulwinder alias Gurdeep, Ila, Aaftab and Raju alias Vijay.
The accused only committed robberies on the 10 days of the month, when there was no moon. All the nine gang members were below 25 years in age and used to walk nearly 10 km in an hour after the crime to reach their dwellings. Before and after the crime, they used to gather, pray and distribute sweets at a pre-defined common place. They performed as street-jugglers and road-side magicians.
“I have asked officials u to identify people with such profile. All SHOs are being directed to make a list of such people, especially of those living under temporary shelters,” said the SSP.