Four gangsters wanted in 16 cases of murder, attempt to murder and drugs in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh were arrested with drugs and guns. Among the recoveries made include five guns of different calibres, 19 cartridges and 20-gram heroin. The accused had allegedly been supplying drugs to students in the region.
Those arrested have been identified as Baljeet Singh alias Lovely, Harpreet Singh alias Happy, Devinder Singh alias Sonu and Manpreet Singh alias Kaka.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Alka Meena said a fresh case against the accused was registered on April 4 and a hunt was on ever since to arrest them. Manpreet was arrested on Saturday on the basis of a tip off and a .32-calibre pistol and 5 cartridges were recovered from him. “The investigations gave us more clues and subsequently other members of the gang were arrested,” said Meena.
Baljeet, Harpreet and Devinder were arrested at a check post on Monday when they were travelling towards Fatehgarh Sahib in two cars.
About the accused
According to police, the accused had tried drugs at an early age and got addicted. “They ventured into illegal land acquisitions and smuggling. They went to jail many times in different cases and established contacts with other gangsters and smugglers,” SSP Meena said. “We suspect their involvement in other illegal activities as well and there could be other people working with them.”
Police said four of the accused were well educated and belonged to decent families. Baljeet (34) and Harpreet (34) were graduates in commerce and were classmates in college. Devinder, 29, too, is a graduate and runs a gymnasium and Manpreet, 31, was a Class-12 passout.
Baljeet , Harpreet are residents of Attewali village, which is 3 km from here; Devinder alias Sonu is a resident of Police Colony, Sirhind, and Manpreet alias Kaka is of Pamour village. Popular as “Sonu Pehalwan”, Devinder runs a gymnasium in Sirhind and his late father was a police official. Sonu is said to have close links with some political leaders. ‘Sonu Pehlwan’ had launched a student union in the district — Pehlwan Group Students Union (PGSU).
Lovely and Happy were allegedly involved in the bloody clash between the contractor and the labour at IIT Mandi in Himachal Pardesh in 2015 in which four people were killed.
Fortunes changed with new govt
During the previous SAD(B) regime, the accused were free birds despite their names figuring in at least 16 cases. Sources said it was after the Capt Amarinder took reins in Punjab that there was pressure on the police to check illegal activities, especially the flow of drugs. Till recently, the accused could be spotted at district administrative complex and wandered around at popular public joints.
Recoveries under anti-drugs campaign
Ever since the Capt Aamrinder SiIngh government took charge, the police have recovered 79-kg poppy husk, 41-gram heroin, 17-gram smack, 200-gram opium, 856 tablets (chemical drugs), eight injections, 276 bottles of country liquor, 48 bottles of Indian made foreign liquor, 16 bottles of beer, five pistols, 19 cartridges and two sharp-edged weapons in the district. The new government had given orders to check drug supply.