Chandigarh, Jun 30 (PTI) Punjab police today claimed to have arrested the main accused allegedly involved in the petrol pump loot and double murder incident that took place in Patiala. Also Read - Vinayak Chaturthi 2021: Know The date, Time For Ganesh Chaturthi Puja
The accused, identified as Lakhandeep Singh alias Waris Randhawa, was arrested by the Counter Intelligence Wing Jalandhar following an alert issued by the Patiala police, which had earlier nabbed two other accused — Harpreet Singh alias Makhan and Sikander Singh, an official said. Also Read - Forget Telegram, Signal: ISIS Terrorists in India, Abroad Using Much More Secure Messenger 'Threema'
Two people were killed near Chamar Heri village in Patiala when the three accused opened fire during a robbery bid at a petrol pump on the night of June 17. Also Read - India Set to Rollout World’s Biggest Vaccination Drive Today, 3 Lakh Health Workers to Get Shots on Day 1
According to AIG Counter Intelligence HPS Khakh, a tip-off was received from a reliable source that the main accused would be passing via Jalandhar while travelling from Patiala to his village in Dera Baba Nanak, district Gurdaspur.
The information was immediately shared with the city police, and joint teams of Counter Intelligence and Division number six laid a trap near bus stand Jalandhar, from where 21-year-old Lakhandeep was arrested, he said.
Lakhandeep, a resident of Nikka Thetharke village which comes under the jurisdiction of Dera Baba Nanak police station, had reportedly abandoned his studies in 2013-14 after completing class 12 and started working in Apollo Hospital in Ludhiana, as a billing operator in 2016.
However, he left this job in July 2017 and started working as a sales representative in a firm, owned by his cousin Harpal Singh and started staying with the latter in their house at Professor Colony in Patiala, investigations so far have revealed.
Giving further details, Khakh said that in Patiala, the main accused came in contact with Harpreet Singh on Facebook. The duo started meeting every day near Punjabi University in Patiala.
In March 2018, Lakhandeep left the job and went back to his parental home in Dera Baba Nanak but his friendship with Harpreet Singh continued and they often chatted on mobile phone and Facebook.
On one occasion, Harpreet told Lakhandeep telephonically that he had been chasing an unknown person, who had a licensed pistol, and was a regular walker in Urban Estate area of Patiala. The two conspired to snatch the pistol with the aim of engaging in some big crime.
As agreed, Lakhandeep went to Patiala on June 16, 2018 and met Harpreet near the university, where he introduced him to a boy named Sikander, who was staying in a PG.
The three went to the PG room to plan the snatching, and Sikander was asked to recce the area where the pistol owner used to come for his daily walk.
The next day, while Sikander arranged the weapons – one .32 bore pistol and two pistols of .315 bore and four live cartridges, Harpeet came with smack (drug) which all three then consumed, he said.
Then they decided to loot a petrol pump that night. They went to the petrol pump at the Bahadurgarh Rajpura Road on a black motorcycle, which was arranged by Sikander.
They tried to loot a petrol pump at the Bhadurgarh Rajpura Road but gave up the idea as it was quite crowded and went, with their faces covered, to another HP petrol pump near Chamar Heri village.
When they tried to loot the petrol pump, a truck driver intervened, following which Sikander shot at him from his .32 pistol, killing him on the spot, Khakh said.
As they tried to flee after looting the money from the petrol pump, another person rushed from a nearby eatery on hearing the gunshot.
Waris shot at him from his .315 bore pistol, and all three escaped to different directions thereafter, according to the investigations conducted in the case so far.
However, the CCTV footage released by the police on social media groups led to some clues and the police managed to arrested two of the accused, while Lakhandeep managed to evade arrest.
A state-wide alert was then issued by IG Patiala, leading to the eventual arrest of Waris, with one country made pistol with one live cartridge recovered from his possession.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.