The city police said on Thursday they had arrested three people for firing at and wounding a prominent jeweller in the city on April 30.
SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, said the attack on the jewellery shop was the gang’s first and they wanted to repay their debts and set up own businesses.
Addressing a press conference here, Chauhan said among the three held was a local resident, Ajay Kumar. The other two are Amir and Wajid, both residents of Seelampur in New Delhi.
Islam, one of the assailants who had fired at Rajesh Kumar, the owner of Om Jewellers, wounding him in the abdomen, was killed as Kumar retaliated. He was also a resident of Delhi.
Police also recovered a .32 bore pistol with 4 cartridges, a .12 bore locally-made pistol with 3 cartridges, and a dagger from the trio.
Chauhan said Amir had met Ajay, a worker at a goldsmith’s, in Patiala where his brother worked as an embroidery artisan. Sources said Ajay, who had lost Rs 20 lakh to betting in cricket, sought help from Amir, who planned the loot and arranged the weapons and partners.
Chauhan said the gang had planned to attack Om Jewellers on April 23, but held back as the shop was closed. They then carried out the plan on April 30, but failed to loot the shop after the owner’s retaliation.
The shop is situated around 50m from the Kotwali police station.
Businessmen in fear
The incident, which took place around 9pm, left the city’s business community in fear. More so, as four days later, the 7-year-old daughter of another businessman was kidnapped and freed after her father, Amit Gupta, paid `50 lakh ransom.
Both the incidents took place in the inner city, congested and ‘safe’.
“We don’t feel safe anymore,” Rajesh Bansal, a businessman of Gur Mandi, said. “The firing at Om Jewellers and then the kidnapping… both were daring acts. There is a need to increase security to instill a sense of security among the business community.”
Congress MLA Brahm Mohindra said: “People are in a shock. The incidents has again reminded us of militancy days, when people were feeling unsafe and insecure. It will badly affect the city’s economy as the businessman is feeling insecure.”
“Patiala was considered a safe city. If it is witnessing such crimes, you can imagine the situation in other parts of the state. Several gunmen were given to small-time Akali leaders, but the common man was left at the mercy of criminals.”