THE MOHALI district police on Monday announced the arrest of three “most wanted criminals”, who were wanted in Punjab and Rajasthan for their involvement in robberies, murders and drug smuggling. The three accused were said to be members of a notorious gang, Tirath Dhilwan, active in border areas of Punjab and Rajasthan. From their possession, the police recovered Pakistan SIM cards, a huge cache of arms and ammunition, passports made on fake identities and 31 mobile phones.
Those arrested included Gurjant Singh aka Bholu, Jatinder Singh aka Jindi and Sandeep Singh. The three, the police claimed, were arrested on the night of December 29 after an exchange of fire between the police and the accused on Kharar-Landran road.
The recoveries from their possession included 9mm sten gun and two 9mm Mausers, bearing markings of Pakistan manufacturing, two .30 bore pistols (one made in Brazil and one in China), an air gun, around 150 live cartridges, passports prepared on fake addresses and 31 mobile phones along with a Pakistan subscriber identity module (SIM) card. According to the police, the accused were using the SIM card for establishing contact with a Pakistan national identified as Imtiaz.
The police denied possibility of the accused being involved in any terrorist activities. “All the accused are members of Tirath Dhilwan gang, which is known for highway robberies, extortion and murders in various parts of Punjab and Rajasthan,” said Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, Senior Superintendent of Police, Mohali.
“These accused also smuggled more than 1.44 quintal heroin worth several crores of rupees from across the border. The SIM card which is recovered from the accused is operational and it was used by the accused to contact their Pakistan-based drug supplier Imtiaz. They purchased weapons to terrorise their targets. Raids were on to arrest their accomplices. We are yet to ascertain if the accused were using the SIM card only to smuggle narcotics or they were in touch with some other anti-social elements across the border. Also, the sten gun is a locally made weapon in Pakistan,” Bhullar told the media.
Giving details of the operation in which the criminals were captured, Bhullar said, “The Crime Branch team received an input that some gang members of Tirath Dhilwan gang were present in the district and planning a big robbery in Kharar and adjoining areas. Following the tip-off, the Crime Branch team, led by Inspector Gurcharan Singh, followed a white Swift car in which accused Gurjant Singh (26), Sandeep Singh (25), both residents of Haveliyan village in Tarn Taran district, were travelling. The car was stolen from Ludhiana on December 18. We also came to know that the accused were staying in Sunny Enclave at Kharar and on December 29 they were coming towards Kharar via Kharar-Landran road. We intercepted them at a saloon on the road. After stiff opposition from the accused and an exchange of fire, we managed to overpower them and took them into our custody. Few police personnel also suffered minor injuries in the encounter.”
Gurjant and Sandeep’s interrogation led the police team to their flat from where the arms and ammunition were recovered. On their disclosure, Jatinder Singh (34) was also arrested.