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35 Punjab cops fired 40 rounds in 20 minutes to kill Vicky Gounder

Punjab director general of police Suresh Arora said the Organised Crime Control Unit (OCCU) of the intelligence wing got specific information that Vicky Gounder was moving in around the border areas of Punjab and Rajasthan.

punjab Updated: Jan 28, 2018 10:40 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva and Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar
Ravinder Vasudeva and Gaurav Sagar Bhaskar
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh/Abohar
Vicky Gounder,Punjab cops,40 rounds
PUNJAB’S MOST WANTED: Vicky Gounder and Prema Lahoriya. (HT File )

Five teams of Punjab Police comprising 35 men executed an intelligence-based operation that ended in the death of Punjab’s most wanted gangster and Nabha jailbreak mastermind Harjinder Singh Bhullar, alias Vicky Gounder, and his aide Prema Lahoriya at Pakki village in Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan, 50 meters from the Punjab territory.

Police said they managed to trace Gounder, wanted in 10 cases of murder and gangwar, after a year-long manhunt after he escaped from the Nabha jail in November 2016.

Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh on Saturday, Punjab director general of police Suresh Arora said the Organised Crime Control Unit (OCCU) of the intelligence wing got specific information that Gounder was moving in around the border areas of Punjab and Rajasthan.

A police official in the know of the OCCU plan said cops got a tip-off from Gounder’s former aide about his hideout and the operation was launched after confirming the movement of the gangsters in Pakki village.

An unidentified person, who police said was trying to give cover to Gounder and Lahoriya, was also killed in the shootout.

Following inputs, a dossier was sent to police in Muktsar, Fazilka, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran and Faridkot on January 24 to heighten vigil in these districts, said the DGP. “Our teams cornered a ‘dhani’ (a hamlet) where the gangster was hiding on January 24,” said Arora. Gounder’s aide Lakhwinder Singh Lakha owns most of the houses and land in the hamlet. Both Gounder and Lahoriya were hiding in the hamlet for the past one week, said the DGP.

“On spotting the police team, the gangsters started indiscriminating firing and the police also retaliated. Gounder was killed while he was trying to escape by scaling a boundary wall, whereas Lahoriya was killed inside the house,” said the DGP.

Assistant inspector general (OCCU) Gurmeet Chauhan said even after asking the gangsters to surrender, they kept of firing continuously and sub-inspector Balwinder Singh and assistant sun-inspector Kirpal Singh were injured. “In retaliation, 40 rounds were fired and both were shot dead. The encounter lasted for 20 minutes,” said Chauhan.

Police recovered two pistols, huge cache of ammunition, mobile phones and a Swift Dzire car with fake number plate from the house where the gangsters were hiding.

The Sriganganagar police was informed after the encounter. “The hamlet was under the jurisdiction of Rajasthan Police, said the DGP. Due to territorial confusion, the post-mortem of bodies could not be done for 18 hours even as families of both the gangsters reached the spot.

First Published: Jan 28, 2018 09:52 IST