Gangster Davinder Bambiha “sharp shooter” (25) will no more brag about his crimes on Facebook. He was shot dead in a pre-dawn police encounter at Gill Kalan near Rampura, 30 kilometres from here, on Friday.
He was from Bambiha Bhai village in Moga district and wanted for six murders, including that of Khwajke sarpanch Ravi Khwajke at a Ludhiana wedding on February 20. His accomplice Tara Dosandh was injured in the four-hour gunfight that started at 6.30am and in which at least 70 shots were exchanged.
Police are combing a wildlife sanctuary near Gill Kalan for another gangster that escaped. Bambiha, educated up to Class 12, was on the hit list of Punjab Police and, on July 18, the special task force (STF) had announced a reward on him and mobster Jaipal.
“The Bathinda police had been tracking Bambiha for 45 days,” inspector general of police (Bathinda range) SK Asthana said. “On Thursday evening, they received an input about his checking into one of the houses in a ‘dhani’ (a small cluster of houses) at Gill Kalan. The gang had come to meet Tara’s mother.”
At about 4am, two crime investigation agency (CIA) teams led by Bathinda senior superintendent of police (SSP) Swapan Sharma cordoned off the area. As the gang started its car to drive out, Bambiha spotted the cops. “He got off the vehicle and ran through a paddy field, while shooting at police. The cops fired in retaliation and hit him with three bullets in the chest,” Asthana said.
Bambiha was dead by the time they moved him to a Bathinda hospital. Tara was caught, later, from a tubewell room, 2 km from where Bambiha was killed. Tara had taken a bullet in the left leg. He was admitted to the Bathinda civil hospital. “The encounter went on for four hours as both Bambiha and Tara had a lot of ammunition,” the IG said.
Six people, including Tara’s mother, are under arrest on the charges of sheltering the gang.
Arms, other items seized: Two .30-bore pistols, a .9mm Chinese pistol, a .32-bore revolver, 85 live cartridges, a laptop computer, two mobile phones, fake driving licences, a stolen Hyundai Verna car.
Cases against Bambiha*: Murder 6, attempt to murder 2, scuffle 4, robbery 1, Arms Act violation 8 (* Registered across state and Sirsa district in Haryana)
2010: First murder, at 18
2013: Double murder in Faridkot, escaped Faridkot jail on September 14
2014: Rearrested on June 11
2015: Ran away from police custody on January 20, was fugitive since
2016: Killed Khwajke village sarpanch Ravi Khwajke during a wedding in Ludhiana on February 20; kidnapped Dilbag Singh “Lamma Patti” of Jaggu Bhagwanpura gang on August 11 and killed him at Pandori Gohala village
Other wanted gangsters
Gurbaksh Sewewala: Associate of Davinder Bambiha, his alleged partner in many crimes in the past four years. After Bambiha, frontrunner to take over the gang. Is on the run.
Jaipal Singh: Son of a former assistant sub-inspector (ASI) in Punjab Police is on the cops’ radar since the murder of gangster-politician Jaswinder Singh ‘Rocky’ on May 1 near Parwanoo on the Shimla-Chandigarh highway. The Ferozepur man is wanted for 40 crimes in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh. It’s difficult to catch him because he is off mobile phones and social media..
Third in four months
Davinder Bambiha’s was the third such encounter in Bathinda district police jurisdiction in the past four months:
May 27: In a joint operation by the Bathinda and Faridkot police, Ajmer Singh (24), an alleged liquor smuggler, was gunned down in an encounter on the border of the two districts on Jeeda-Dabrikhana Road. He was shot in the chest by police personnel after the police alleged that two car-borne youths opened opened fire at the the police. Police seized a 0.12-bore rifle and a live bullet from his possession. Ajmer’s family alleged that the police took Ajmer for Devinder Bambiha; police refuted that.
June 2: A special team of Haryana police in assistance with Bathinda police killed wanted gangster Ajay Kumar alias Kannu at Jagaram Tirath village in Bathinda on June 2. Kannu, a resident of Karawari village in Sonepat district, was evading arrest in a double murder case of army major Sushil Chhikara’s father Jagbir Singh, 57, and brother Anil Chhikara, 25, on May 12, as they hadn’t voted for him in panchayat elections. More than a dozen gunshots were exchanged between the police and Kannu in a 30-minute operation, before two of the bullets pierced Kannu’s stomach. Kannu along with his three accomplices had taken shelter with Bhola Singh, whom Kannu met in Bhiwani jail years ago.