Police on Thursday arrested five gangsters involved in at least 28 cases of murder, attempt to murder, dacoity, kidnapping and extortion - across Nabha, Malerkotla, Barnala, Ludhiana, Patiala and SAS Nagar - and recovered weapons from their possession.
The five have been identified as Abdul Rashid alias Ghaddu and Mohammad Irfan residents of Malerkotla; Gagandeep Singh alias Guni, a native of Barnala; Kulwant Singh from Ludhiana and Pardeep Kumar from Patiala.
Two .12 bore rifles along with two cartridges, a .32 bore pistol with seven cartridges and a country-made pistol of .315 bore with seven cartridges and an iron rod have been recovered.
Patiala superintendent of police (SSP) Gurmeet Singh Chauhan said on a tip-off, the accused were arrested from the Patiala bypass following a tip-off by the crime investigation agency led by inspector Bikramjit Singh Brar.
He said that one gang member Amarjeet Singh managed to flee.
Chauhan added that Ghaddu led the gang and also lured new youths into their group.
During preliminary investigation, the police found that two of the gang members arrested - Abdul Rashid and Gagandeep - had been involved in the Sangrur mistaken identity case where a police party opened fire at two innocent youths taking them to be gangsters, based on the same make of the car.
During interrogation, the accused revealed that they had met in jail as they were facing trials in different cases. Ghaddu floated the idea to form a gang and work collectively as they were into committing similar kinds of crimes.
Abdul Rashid alias Ghaddu used to provide them shelter after committing any crime. A police officer said after committing crime they made their base in Rudrapur at Uttarakhand, where they planned for the next crime. The accused also used to extort money from industrialists in Uttarakhand