Following a state-wide social media alert, Punjab Police has arrested the main accused of the petrol pump loot and double murder incident that took place recently in Patiala.
Identified as Lakhandeep Singh alias Waris Randhawa, he was arrested by the Counter Intelligence Wing Jalandhar, along with Commissionerate Police Jalandhar, following an alert issued by the Patiala Police, which had earlier nabbed two other accused – Harpreet Singh alias Makhan and Sikander Singh.
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 Div. No. 6 laid a trap near bus stand Jalandhar, from where 21-year-old Lakhandeep was arrested.
Son of Sawinder Singh of village Nikka Thetharke in Dera Baba Nanak, he had reportedly abandoned his studies in 2013-14 after completing 10+2 and started working in Apollo Hospital, 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 “Hygein Biotech”, owned by his cousin Harpal Singh s/o Balwinder Singh, and started staying with the latter in their house at Professor Colony, Patiala, investigations so far have revealed.
Giving further details, Khakh said that in Patiala, the main accused came in contact with Harpreet Singh alias Makhan r/o Saifdipur Patiala on Facebook. The duo started meeting every day near Punjabi University 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 alias Waris 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, Waris went to Patiala on 16 June 2018 and met Harpreet near the university, where
Harpreet introduced him to a boy 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. Sikander informed the others that he had decided to off the pistol snatching and suggested that they should loot a petrol pump that night. They went to the petrol pump at Bahadurgarh Rajpura Road on a black Bullet motorcycle, which was arranged by Sikander.
They tried to loot a HP Petrol Pump at 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, disclosed Khakh.
As they tried to flee after looting the money from the petrol pump, another person rushed from a nearby dhaba on hearing the gunshot. Waris shot at him from his .315 bore pistol, and all three escaped in different directions thereafter, as per the investigations conducted in the case so far.
However, CCTV footage released by Patiala Police on social media groups led to some clues and the police managed to arrested two of the accused, while Lakhandeep @ Waris 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.
A case has been registered at Police Station Div.No.6 Commissionerate Jalandhar under the Arms Act, and further investigations are in progress.