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Gangster Lahoriya: College-mate who became Gounder’s most trusted aide

Lahoriya earlier belonged to the Sukha Kahlwan gang before switching sides and joining Vicky Gounder, Kahlwan’s rival. Gounder and Lahoria were both killed in a police encounter on Friday.

punjab Updated: Jan 27, 2018 21:40 IST
Jatinder Mahal
Jatinder Mahal
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Vicky Gounder,Nabha jailbreak,Gangs of Punjab
Gangster Prema Lahoria.(Photo courtesy: Facebook )

Gangster Prema Lahoriya, 30, who was killed along with Punjab’s most-wanted Vicky Gounder in an encounter just across the inter-state border in Rajasthan on Friday evening, was on the list of a dozen men wanted for storming the Nabha jail in 2016.

A resident of Basti Mithu in Jalandhar, Lahoriya earlier belonged to the Sukha Kahlwan gang before switching sides and joining Gounder, Kahlwan’s rival. He was earlier close to gangster Daljeet Bhana as well.

Born in an unremarkable family, he was the youngest of four siblings. While the eldest, brother Gurpuran Singh, and sisters Preet Kaur and Ravinder Kaur are married, their father Darshan Singh had died when Prema was very young, said family sources. Grandfather Ajaib Singh said Prema was married to Rajinder Kaur, a resident of Tarn Taran district, five years ago, but she had now been living with her paternal family.

Lahoriya, Gounder and Bhana were friends and studied together at Government Arts and Sports College in Jalandhar. He was an athlete known for 110-metre hurdles.

A gang war unravelled when rival Kahlwan reportedly killed a small-time criminal, Navpreet Singh alias Lovely Baba, a close friend of Lahoriya and Gounder, in 2010. Lahoriya and Gounder came together for revenge.

Gounder and Lahoriya killed Kahlwan near Phagwara in 2015, when six policemen were taking him back to the Nabha jail in a jeep after a court hearing in Jalandhar. Gounder even filmed the act and danced around Kahlwan’s body in front of the policemen and fled from the spot.

While police had managed to nab most of the other accused in Kahlwan’s murder case, Lahoriya was on the run ever since he was last tracked to Dehradun, said police officials. He had hideouts in Jalandhar, Moga and Mansa districts of Punjab besides in Rajasthan.

In November 2016 , he played a key role in the escape of Gounder and five others from the high-security Nabha jail, police said.

Lahoriya was facing 13 criminal cases, including one for a murder, six for attempt to murder, and six under the Arms Act, in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Patiala and Kapurthala. The first FIR against him was registered in 2006 on charges of attempt to murder, at a police station in Jalandhar. The district and sessions court of Kapurthala in November last year had framed charges against seven accused of murdering Kahlwan, and declared Gounder, Lahoriya and the five others proclaimed offenders (POs).

‘Brave son killed in fake encounter’

His family members said he had not visited home in the past four years after he associated with Gounder’s gang. A pall of gloom descended at his house in Basti Mithu on Friday.

“We came to know about his death from television. My son was very brave and he was killed in a fake encounter by the police,” his mother Manjeet Kaur said, weeping. Some relatives went to Rajasthan to bring the body home.

(The story has been updated with additional information)

First Published: Jan 27, 2018 11:08 IST