Close on the heels of a shootout at Malerkotla in Sangrur in which a man lost his life on Wednesday, two wanted gangsters and three of their accomplices were arrested by Punjab police’s special task force, assisted by local cops, after heavy exchange of fire at Makhu, a rural town in Ferozepur district, on Saturday morning.
Those arrested are Boota Khan alias Bagga, Gahia Khan, Aman, Vishal and Stephen, informed STF officials at a press conference in Amritsar later in the day. Gahia received a bullet injury in his leg and was admitted to a hospital.
For residents of Makhu, the weekend sleep was broken by the noise of firing of bullets as the gunfight near the local police station started around 6.45 am. Gahia and Bagga had taken a room on rent to use as shelter, sources said, after heightening of police operations to nab them. With many of their patrons in jail, the gang was dormant, and Aman, who works for a telecommunication company at Faridkot, facilitated the accommodation in a building owned by a former municipal councillor, officials told HT.
On a tip-off, the area was cordoned off before sunrise by the STF and a team led by superintendent of police (SP) Dharamvir Singh and deputy SP Wariyam Singh. At first light, the cops asked them to surrender, but the gangsters reportedly opened fire, and the police retaliated. Locals said the gunfight went on for around 10 minutes without pause. Outnumbered, the five men were arrested.
“A .315-bore pistol and two .32-bore pistols, and more than three dozen cartridges, were seized from them,” said Gaurav Garg, senior superintendent of police, Ferozepur. A case of attempt to murder and other sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act was registered.
At the Amritsar press conference, STF inspector general Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh said, “This gang belongs to Malerkotla. On February 8, Gahia and Bagga, along with others, fired at a man named Kallimuddin in Malerkotla and injured him.” The IG also said that Bagga Khan was involved in the “Tarn Taran gangwar that took place in August last year”.
The STF had received information that the gang had taken shelter “somewhere in Harike or Makhu area”. When it was found that they were in Makhu, a police team from Ferozepur was asked to join the STF, the IG said.
(HTC inputs from Amritsar)