AFTER WITNESSING a spate of snatchings and robberies, the Panchkula police on Tuesday came out with its achievement in the last 24 hours. It claimed to have solved 11 cases of heinous crime — four robberies, one murder and six recent snatching incidents — with the arrest of seven accused in two back-to-back raids conducted in the last 24 hours. The list of solved crimes also includes the recent robbery and murder at UHBVN office, in which the cashier was shot dead by the robbers.
All the accused had been living in Panchkula for several years. Out of seven arrested, four were described as members of a gang that was committing robberies in Panchkula and neighbouring areas. Incidentally, all the accused were arrested on the basis of a “secret tip-off”. During both the raids — four accused arrested in one raid and three in the other — the accused were “planning to commit another robbery”, according to the police officials.
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Although the police claimed to have worked out 10 cases of robberies and snatchings and one case of murder, it failed to make any recovery of the robbed or snatched items from either of the seven accused till Tuesday night.
Speaking at a press conference in Mini-Secretariat, Sector 1, Commissioner of Police O P Singh said that the police had busted the gang which allegedly carried out the robberies in Panchkula. “It is too early to give details on how they carried out these incidents. We have arrested the accused just now and they have confessed their involvement in various crimes. The interrogation and investigation will follow. Then only will we be able to elaborate on their background and involvement in other crimes,” Singh said.
The three accused arrested in one raid were identified as Sultan Singh, a resident of Rajiv Colony, Sector 17; Pappu, a native of UP and a resident of Indira Colony, Sector 17; and Sunil Kumar, a native of Jind and a resident of Rajiv Colony, Sector 17; all in the age group of 30-35 years. The police also claimed to have recovered a country-made pistol 315 bore, a live cartridge, an iron rod, a bamboo stick and a bike (HR99PB-5278).
“Five co-accused managed to escape in a white Swift car. They have been identified as Vinod, Rakesh Bhaiya, Pawan, Rajesh Gurfi and Ram Niwas. They will also be arrested soon,” Singh added.
According to the police, during their interrogation the three accused confessed that they had committed four robberies in the district. These are Rs 11-lakh robbery at a liquor vend in Sector 25 in August 2014, Rs 7.5-lakh robbery at Amartex in January, Rs 9.8-lakh robbery involving a petrol pump owner in Sector 8 in March, and Rs 9.22- lakh robbery involving a UHBVN cashier in August. In the last incident, the cashier was shot at and he subsequently died.
In a media statement, the police said that “accused were arrested from the Industrial Area, Panchkula, where they were allegedly planning a robbery. The accused also did a recce of the area in a white Swift car and on a bike. A team of CIA led by Inspector Shukarpal Singh raided the area after receiving a tip-off, and arrested the accused”.
According to the police, the accused were locally stationed, and would remain in Panchkula for most time. They had pasted a sticker, stating “Chairman, Anti-Corruption Bureau” on the car. “Vinod, who is absconding is the kingpin who planned the robberies and delegated work to others. He also underwent imprisonment of seven years on murder charges. Most of these gang members are relatives of each other,” said Singh.
Apart from that, the police also arrested four youths from a residential colony in Sector 20. These four, according to the police, had carried out some snatching incidents in Panchkula in the recent past.
The accused were identified as Rajiv (Pappi), Dharmender Singh, Sanjay and Rahul, all in the age group of 17-21 years. According to the police, the accused were arrested from Sector 3, where they were “planning to loot a petrol pump in Sector 3”.
“All of them are living in Ashiana, Sector 20, where their family members are engaged in labour. These youths have got high-end bikes, which they use in the crime. They have confessed their involvement in six snatching incidents,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Anil Dhawan.
The police recovered two Pulsar motorcycles, one knife and an iron rod from their possession. All the accused will be produced in a local court on Wednesday.