A month after being set up, the Special Task Force (STF) to counter gangs in Punjab tasted its first major success with the arrest of six gangsters after a brief encounter here on Monday. The STF also recovered huge cache of arms and ammunition from the gang members.
Following a tip-off, the STF led by assistant inspector general of police HPS Khakh with the help of local police set up a “naka” near Fatehgarh Gate on GT Road in Phagwara this morning. On seeing the police, the gangsters stopped their car before the naka and opened fire.
The police and STF members retaliated and around 10 rounds were fired from both sides. After an encounter that lasted for around 30 minutes, the police overpowered the gangsters and arrested them. They were on their way to Rurka Kalan village to kill a local resident, said the police.
Those arrested have been identified as Gurpreet Singh, alias Gopi, a resident of Rurka Kalan in Jalandhar, Jatinder Singh, alias Sonu, of Dhak Balalo in Kapurthala, Harwinder Singh of Wahid village in Kapurthala, Sukhbir Singh, alias Sukha, of Ludhiana, Gurwinder Singh of SBS Nagar and Mayank Chopra of Mahala village in SBS Nagar.
The police have recovered four pistols, a .12-bore rifle, a country-made pistol and 29 live cartridges, besides 1.3kg of heroin, a Toyota Qualis (PB-08-AK-3666) and sharp-edged weapons from their possession.
Addressing a press conference, Khakh and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajinder Singh said Gurpreet, alias Gopi, was the kingpin of the gang and had been declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in five cases in 2012. He is facing 27 cases of attempt to murder, robberies and theft. He was an active member of Bhinda Shadipuria gang, Goru Bacha gang and Gopi Dalewalia gang before forming his own outfit. The other members of the gang also have a long history of crime and are wanted in many cases across the state, the police officials said.
The gang members had thrashed two persons in Phagwara and SBS Nagar a few days ago and had also made its video that went viral on social media, said Khakh.
During interrogation, the gang members confessed to committing several crimes. “They formed a gang to earn easy money and also wanted to shot to fame by uploading videos of their acts on social media. They used to supply drugs in the state,” Khakh added. They would be produced in the court on Tuesday.
The STF was formed by the Punjab government on May 8 after Punjab Police claimed that as 57 criminal gangs were active in the state.