Sand mafia attack: Four held for attacking forest officials in Mohali
An agriculturist who held grudge against Seonk panch’s son and block forest officer was mastermind, wanted to ‘kill two birds with one stone’, say police
A son of a village panch is among four people arrested for the attack on forest officials, which left two seriously injured, at Majri block in Mohali district on Monday night.
Those arrested have been identified as Satpreet Singh; Satwinder Singh, alias Happy; Jagjit Singh, alias Jagga; and Inderjit Singh, alias Inda, all residents of Seonk village in Kharar, where the incident took place. Two of their accomplices — Amrit and Lovepreet — are absconding, police said on Wednesday.
Both Satpreet and Lovepreet are sons of Seonk panch Balwinder Singh.
Block forest officer Davinder Singh, 48, and beldar Karnail Singh, 54, were seriously injured after they were attacked on intercepting a sand-laden tractor-trailer at a checkpoint on Monday night.
Police have recovered the tractor-trailer, which was registered in the name of Amrit, and the Hyundai i20 car, owned by Lovepreet, that was ferrying the accused.
Police said the accused were mining sand for personal use. A case has been registered under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Mullanpur police station.
A planned attack
“It was a planned attack,” said Mohali senior superintendent of police Kuldeep Singh Chahal. “The accused had used rods and sticks to attack the forest officials.”
According to sources privy to investigations, Jagjit Singh, an agriculturist who owns around 10 acres land, was the main conspirator.
“He wanted to kill two birds with one stone,” said a senior police official not willing to be named.
Jagjit was allegedly nursing a grudge against both the co-accused Lovepreet and block forest officer Davinder Singh. He tipped off the officer to set up the encounter. His calls details, which showed repeated calls to both of them, did him in, said police.
Jagjit and Lovepreet used to illegally mine sand from the area close to the dam. Two days before the incident, Davinder had caught Jagjit’s tractor-trailer and got it emptied when Jagjit allegedly accused him of favouring others. On Monday night, Jagjit gave Davinder a tip-off about the tractor-trailer and even accompanied the panch’s sons to see if the forest officials stop the vehicle.
Meanwhile, police said the i20’s alloy wheels helped identify the accused. The victims had failed to note down the vehicle’s number and could not identify the accused, whose faces were covered. The only clues were the names of people into mining in the area and that the vehicle had alloy wheels, said an investigating officer.
“We shortlisted the vehicles with alloy wheels in the village, which helped us zero in on the accused,” he said.