The district police, on Wednesday, claimed to have arrested three members of an inter-state gang of thieves of copper wire and inverter batteries, who were active in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
The police claimed that the gang used to target electronic and hardware shops with huge stocks of copper wire. A CCTV footage has been received by the police, which clearly showed the thieves in one of the operations where they break into a shop late at night and steal copper wire.
This gang has been involved in a dozen of such cases, claimed the police. Two of the accused Gulzar Singh and Daler Singh belong to Ferozepur while Naveen Kumar hails from Ludhiana.
The police have seized Rs 1.5 lakh and a country-made revolver from the accused. "We have sought the help of the police from other states to nab the other members of the gang, including the kingpin. We are also trying to unearth the link between the gang and a scrap dealer, who could be part of the network. The gang was selling the stolen items to the scrap dealer at throwaway rates. We cannot reveal or ascertain these details now," said senior superintendent of police (SSP) Bhupinder Singh Khattra.
On being asked as how the public perception has changed over the last few months and the police are alleged to be hand-in-glove with the accused, the SSP said: "The delay on our part is not deliberate. When the complainant is received by us, our main target is to recover the stolen items and that is the toughest part of the inquiry. I am sure it raises doubts in the people's minds that we are trying to hush up the case, but due to certain limitations, we cannot reveal the progress of the inquiry in such cases."
One of the officers said, "When we start our inquiry, then we have to face protests from all sorts of unions sympathising with the aggrieved and, later, when any suspect is detained, then there is political pressure to release him as well," said the officer, on the condition of anonymity.