In a breakthrough, the Patiala police claimed to have busted a gang of armed highway robbers, who allegedly used to commit dacoity by posing to be police personnel.
The police have arrested four members of the gang wanted in different cases and seized three pistols and some vehicles from their possession.
The police have claimed that the kingpin of the gang was Amrik Singh, a resident of Dhedna village in Patiala district, who has come out of the Patiala central jail on parole.
However, two of the accused Jagsir Singh alias Jaggu of Kalwanu village and Sarabjeet Singh alias Rimpi were students of MA (defence studies) in Punjabi University and were rusticated from the hostels for their notorious activities on the university campus in August.
The other accused have been identified as Sher Singh, a resident of Nabha, and Gurinder Singh alias Baba of Kartarpur, presently staying in rented accommodation in the urban estate. Baba is presently absconding.
"All the accused grouped during their stay in Patiala Central Jail where they were lodged for different crimes and indulged in illegal activities once they came out on bail," said Hardial Singh Mann, senior superintendent of police.
Mann added, "The key player of the gang Amrik used to run this gang from jail premises and started actively participating in criminal activities after coming out on parole last month."
Amrik is a brother of Avtar Singh, who is a proclaimed offender in an infamous multi-crore drug racket in which Jagdish Singh Bhola, a former Punjab police deputy superintendent of police (DSP) was one of the accused.
Mann said acting on a tip-off, the police intercepted a Skoda Rapid car (PB 11Z 0080) on Saturday on the Patiala-Sirhind road and arrested four of the accused and recovered three loaded .315 pistols and 14 cartridges, a knife, police uniforms, three cars and a blue beacon from their possession.
He informed that the police earlier had information about their whereabouts and raided an abandoned dispensary on the night of November 2 to arrest the accused, but somehow they managed to give a slip to the police party.
"The accused used to pose as police personnel by wearing uniform and committed several highway robberies around Patiala. They have also been involved in other heinous crimes including dacoity, drug smuggling, murder and several cases have been registered against all the accused in several police station across the district," he said.
The police are now going to write to Punjabi University authorities to get more details about two of the accused.
Accused students already rusticated from hostels
The two accused university students were involved in firing at a Punjabi University hostel on August 8. Both Jagsir and Sarabjit failed to appear before the university's special inquiry committee and were rusticated from their hostels.
"We have cancelled their names from their departments for not attending classes after the incident. Though the university has no information about their involvement in criminal activities, yet the process of their rustication from the university will be initiated once they get reports from the police," said Kulbir Singh Dhillon, dean, student welfare.