The car in which the victims were travelling. (HT File Photo)
The car in which the victims were travelling. (HT File Photo)

Bhupi Rana’s own men got killed in Ambala gang war: SSP

Bambiha gang shooters killed associate Bhupi’s men instead of rival Bishnoi gang members due to similar car numbers
By Bhavey Nagpal, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON APR 03, 2021 01:00 AM IST

A day after gangster Bhupinder, alias Bhupi Rana, was brought on production warrants to Ambala in connection with the March 25 Kalka Chowk shooting, police have established that the targets from the Lawrence Bishnoi gang had managed to escape while those killed were in fact from Bhupi’s gang.

It was a case of mistaken identity and the two shot dead — Pardeep, alias Panja, and Rahul, both from Chandigarh’s Mauli Jagran and affiliated to Bhupi’s gang — were not the targets, said Ambala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Hamid Akhtar on Friday.

“As per our initial investigations, the shooters are from the Devinder Bambiha gang, who came to take revenge for the murder of Amit, alias Meet Bouncer, by the Bishnoi gang in Panchkula in 2017. The Bambiha gang orchestrated the shooting with the help of Bhupi and wanted to kill Maneesh and Amandeep, alias Manni, of the Bishnoi gang,” said the SSP.

Pardeep and Rahul along with two others had come to Ambala in a Hyundai Verna car, with a Chandigarh registration number ending in 1620, for a hearing in a 2019 case of gang war inside Ambala Central Jail. As many as 84 inmates were booked after those affiliated to the Bishnoi gang allegedly attacked Bhupi’s men.

Maneesh and Manni, who were also in Ambala for the same hearing, were also expected to arrive in a Hyundai Verna with the number ending in 2620, but came in another vehicle. The hearing did not take place as it was suspended after a court staffer tested positive.

“The difference of just one digit in the car registration numbers led to the killings of Pardeep and Rahul, while Maneesh and Manni escaped in their car,” said the SSP.

P’kula man had done recce

The police had arrested the first accused in the case — Rakesh Kumar, a history-sheeter facing 12 criminal cases — from Panchkula on Holi. He had done the recce on orders of Bhupi, who was lodged in the Kurukshetra jail.

Rakesh had been an inmate with Bhupi in the same barrack in Ambala Central Jail in 2019, said the SSP.

“Rakesh was also present at the court complex on the day of the shooting and had met Maneesh at an eatery. He told Maneesh to come with him, but the later refused apparently suspecting something was amiss and left in his vehicle,” he said.

This is when Pardeep and Rahul, who had too left from the court, were followed by the shooters in their Maruti Suzuki Swift car and shot dead near Kalka Chowk. More than 20 rounds were fired on their car, which also left the driver and the person sitting next to him injured. The shooters, said to be two or three in number, are still absconding.

Apology on Facebook

Members of the Bambiha gang had posted on social media about “avenging the killers of Meet Bouncer” soon after the shooting on March 25.

However, after they got to know that those killed were not from the Bishnoi gang, the post was deleted and an apology was issued instead, the SSP said.

A Facebook post written in Punjabi reads, “Due to a misunderstanding, two families were destroyed and we are responsible for it… We seek an apology from the families of our two brothers. May lord give enough strength to them…”

Bhupi, who belongs to Handesra village in Mohali, is said to have been a close aide of Bambiha, who was shot dead during an encounter with Punjab Police in Bathinda in 2016.

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