The three main accused in the Monday night assault on assistant inspector general of police (AIG) SS Mand at a restaurant in Ludhiana were arrested on Wednesday. While the restaurant’s owner Maninder Pal Singh Johar, alias Sunny, and Rishi Banda were arrested near Zirakpur in SAS Nagar (Mohali) district, Johar’s nephew Amandeep Singh was nabbed near Rose Garden, Ludhiana.
All three are facing charges of attempt to murder after Mand fractured his leg in a fight with a group allegedly led by Johar and Banda, who have remained functionaries of the Youth Akali Dal (YAD).
“Johar and Banda were intercepted by a police team between Dera Bassi and Zirakpur when they traveling in a black Fiat Punto hatchback bearing registration number PB-10-CQ-4042,” said senior superintendent of police (SSP), SAS Nagar, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar. “They tried to flee on foot, but were overpowered.”
Ludhiana police commissioner Ishwar Singh said at a press conference that a team had been sent to bring Banda and Johar from SAS Nagar. Amandeep was waiting for someone near the garden in Ludhiana when he was tracked down, the commissioner informed.
The SAS Nagar police also recovered the .32-bore revolver of Mand’s NRI friend Paramjit Singh Passi, who was injured in the assault, and six cartridges from Johar. Passi is the formal complainant in the matter.
Apprehending that the accused could flee abroad, the Ludhiana police had issued lookout circulars (LOC) with photographs of the trio to all airports of the country on Tuesday. Director general of police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini had reportedly roped in top officers to arrest the men
The accused were initially tracked to Patiala and then SAS Nagar. Police teams were deployed in Lalru, Dera Bassi and Zirakpur under the supervision of the Gurdaspur SSP, while the SP (city), SAS Nagar, led teams deployed under SSP Bhullar’s supervision in Kharar, Landran and other adjoining areas. The SSP of Patiala supervised teams deployed in Banur and Rajpura.
JOHAR’S RESTAURANT SEALED
The police have also taken the footage of CCTV cameras installed in The Hub, the pub owned by Johar where the alleged assault took place, and sent it for forensic examination. Ludhiana police commissioner Ishwar Singh said, “The excise department is probing the liquor licence.”
The regime is under pressure due to Johar and Banda’s Akali credentials, although the SAD has said they had been expelled from its youth wing six months ago.
At the Wednesday press meet, the Ludhiana police commissioner mentioned thrice that there were “clear-cut instructions for a fair and impartial inquiry from the DGP and the deputy CM”.