A five-month plan and a 20-minute execution: How Punjab police got Gounder

Updated on Jan 27, 2018 10:47 PM IST

Sources said the biggest clue about possible hideouts of Gounder was provided by “a close friend” of the gangster who recently returned from a foreign country.

Vicky Gounder in a file photo
Vicky Gounder in a file photo
Hindustan Times, Faridkot | ByRavinder Vasudeva and Gagandeep Jassowal

It was the sustained interrogation of old and present friends and foes of Vicky Gounder that led to the Punjab police to finally zero in on the gangster in a Rajasthan village next to the inter-state border. With continuous activity of Gangster on Facebook becoming a major embarrassment for the state police, the operation, said police officials, was started five months ago when DGP (intelligence) Dinkar Gupta had a special meeting with the Organised Crime Control Unit (OCCU) led by IG-rank officer Nirlabh Kishore.

With five years of experience of serving the CBI, Kishore, sources said, made case studies of all friends and enemies of Gounder. And the team led by AIG, OCCU, Gurmeet Chauhan and inspector Bikram Brar, an officer posted as CIA in-charge at Rajpura, started picking up persons for investigations. “Since Chauhan was SSP of Patiala at the time of the Nabha jailbreak in 2016, I gave the responsibility to nab Gounder and his aides to him,” said DGP Suresh Arora, the state police chief.

Sources said the biggest clue about possible hideouts of Gounder was provided by “a close friend” of the gangster who recently returned from a foreign country. “We investigated more than 100 persons and finally found a key man who knew Gounder’s possible hideouts and of a few men helping him,” an officer privy to the developments said.

The OCCU also got some mobile numbers from gangster Harsimrandeep Singh, alias Simma Behbal, who was arrested from Dehradun on January 13 and was accompanying Gounder for a few days while he was on the run. The official said Behbal was caught on a tip-off about his location by his accomplice Gaurav Kumar Miglani, who was arrested for sheltering gangsters in neighbouring Haryana on December 23.

Though the police have not revealed the identity of a person then accompanying the two gangsters, sources said the mobile phon location of this man helped the police team. “Corroborating various technical and other information that resulted in the knowledge that Gounder was in the state’s border areas, on January 16 the operation was planned at the police headquarters in which the DGP (law and order) was asked to provide additional force to the districts of Fazilka, Ferozepur, Tarn Taran and Muktsar,” said another officer.

On January 24, a team headed by AIG Gurmeet Chauhan and inspector Bikram Brar was sent to a specific location after getting information that both the gangsters were hiding in Panjawa village of Fazilka district in the house of a liquor smuggler named Lakhwinder Singh Lakha. “Since they were not using mobile phones, it was very tough to locate them. Lakha’s house was the usual, but when we analysed the activity near his hamlet near the canal in the area, we found movement of some suspects,” said

Around 11 am on Friday, DGP (intelligence) ordered the operation and 35 cops were sent to assist the OCCU team, including four NSG-trained commandoes from the special operations group. The operation started at 5.30 pm and lasted 20 minutes. Gounder and his most trusted aide Prema Lahoriya were shot dead at a house in the hamlet, while another gangster died later at a hospital.

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