A 25-year-old financier was shot dead in the main market of Longowal, Sangrur, on Thursday morning by a group of five gangsters led by Davinder Singh, alias Babli Randhawa, who was released on bail from jail recently in a different case.
Sources said the financier had lent Rs 5 lakh to Babli and there was dispute between the two over the money.
After pumping five bullets into the head of the victim, Hardev Singh, the gangsters ensured that he was dead, then celebrated near his body, and said they challenge the police to nab them — sending shockwaves in the area. Shopkeepers downed the shutters of their shops as an expression of anger over the deteriorating law and order. “Police fear from these gangsters and that’s why they break law with impunity,” said a trader.
After committing the crime, Randhawa posted four videos on his Facebook page, taking responsibility for the crime and celebrating the murder by joining chorus of a song, “Maare hik vich fIre Jat ne (The Jat has fired in the chest)”. He is also seen flashing a gun in the video.
In another video that had got 150 likes by 9.50pm, he explained the reason behind killing Hardev.
As per eyewitnesses, the incident took place at about 10am when the shops were opening for the day and Hardev was crossing through the market. “At about 10am, five youths with pistols in hand reached the market on two motorcycles and stopped near Hardev. They put pistols on his head and pumped in five bullets. They celebrated his death with a dance and challenged the police to catch them if they can,” said a shopkeeper, requesting anonymity.
Police have indentified Babli’s accomplices as Aman Singh, Nancy, Varinder Singh and Surja.
The accused was a local gangster and had come out of jail on bail. Though police kept mum, sources said Babli had old enmity with the victim. Both had a clash on January 31 over some monetary issue, in which cross-FIRs were registered at the Longowal police station. Sources said the two sides had reached a compromise a few days back to withdraw the complaints, however this couldn’t be corroborated from the police.
Victim’s father Sajan Singh refused to let the police take the body for postmortem on his son till the accused were arrested. “It’s a barbaric act and we wont hand over the body to police until they arrest the main accused,” he said.
Senior superintendent of police Inderbir Singh said a manhunt has been launched to nab the accused. “Babli was a local history-sheeter. It’s a heinous act and police teams have been dispatched to nab him and his accomplices,” said the SSP. He said the police were trying to find out the location from where the accused had uploaded the videos on Facebook. The SSP said the trigger behind the crime is not known, but there was old enmity between Babli and Hardev.