An 18-day investigation into the murderous assault on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader brigadier Jagdish Gagneja (retired) failed to yield any solid clue, Punjab Police officers admit.
The police response was slothful from the August 6 evening when two men came on a motorcycle and shot Gagneja in the abdomen near Jyoti Chowk in Jalandhar. This inactiveness gave the killers an ample time to escape. Instead of going on a hunt, all key cops, from a station house officer to police commissioner Arpit Shukla, camped overnight at the private hospital where a wounded RSS leader lay.
The incident was in a series of high-profile attack cases in the state, all of which remain unsolved. “We were clueless. That’s a fact. We could not pick up any conclusive evidence to develop the investigation. The police probe never really took off,” a senior cop who was on different crack teams said. On August 24, to save its face, the state government had to move the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The only clue to the assailants was the security-camera footage, in which they have their faces covered both before the shooting and afterwards. The registration number of the getaway motorcycle was another lead. But it turned out to be of a tractor.
The footage analysis in Gujarat also was unfruitful. “We know the route the two attackers took to the crime spot. We could not trace their escape route. This was another weak spot,” a police officer said. As the government started getting impatient, the investigators tried to prove the involvement of Khalistani terrorists abroad but were “unlucky”.
Desperation forced them to interrogate arrested Shiv Sena activists. Finally, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal blamed a foreign hand, while his deputy and son, Sukhbir Singh Badal, kept claiming that the criminals will be caught soon.
The case went to the CBI on the grounds that it has “national and international ramifications”.
The transfer notice doesn’t refer to the “international conspiracy” angle.
What made the police investigation difficult
1) Instead of going after attackers, key cops gathered around a wounded RSS leader in hospital
2) Police know the attackers’ entry route but not their escape route
3) In security-camera footage, the attackers never remove their masks
4) The registration number of the getaway motorcycle is of a tractor
5) Foreign-hand theory bombed
6) Interrogation of Shiv Sena leaders yielded nothing