TWO MEN wanted in the killing of Punjabi singer Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu Moosewala nearly two months ago were shot dead in an encounter with the Punjab Police near the India-Pakistan border in Amritsar district on Wednesday, officials said.
Three policemen and a cameraman were also injured in the nearly five-hour-long encounter, officials said, adding that their injuries were not critical.
The police identified the two killed as Manpreet Manu and Jagdeep Rupa. They described the two as members of the Jaggu Bhagwanpuria gang, which had allegedly provided sharpshooters to main accused Lawrence Bishnoi for the Moosewala killing.
“Manpreet Manu and Jagdeep Bhai Rupa have been killed in an encounter. Both were wanted in the Sidhu Moosewala murder case,” said Promod Ban, ADGP, Anti Gangster Task Force (AGTF).
Two sharpshooters allegedly involved in the killing of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, killed in an encounter with @PunjabPoliceInd at Bhakna village in Amritsar district, Wednesday. Express videos: @RanaSimranji @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/J2cjdWRi6g
— Express Punjab (@iepunjab) July 20, 2022
According to the police, Manu and Rupa had taken shelter inside a secluded house in the middle of farm fields near Bhakna village, about 14 km from the border, when the police cornered them. “They were asked to surrender but opened fire at the police,” an officer said.
Punjab DGP Gaurav Yadav reached the encounter spot from where the police later recovered an AK-47, a pistol and a bag. The police have not identified those injured but said that one policeman suffered a bullet injury on his thigh, another in the chest and a third near the eye.
Manu and Rupa were on the move since the Moosewala killing and re-entered Punjab from Rajasthan recently, police officers said. They pointed to a CCTV image of the two on a bike in Tarn Taran that had emerged on social media days ago.
The officers said Wednesday’s encounter killings leave only one more accused, identified as Deepak Mundi, to be nabbed in the case.
Providing details of their investigation, officers said Manu and Rupa were part of one of “two modules” involved in the attack on Moosewala at Jawahar Ke village near his home in Mansa district on May 29.
“Manu and Rupa were in one car, and Manu fired the first burst at Moosewala. There were four other shooters in the second module travelling in an SUV, including Priyavrat, Kashish, Ankit Sirsa and Deepak Mundi. The SUV was following the car and shooters in both the vehicles fired at Moosewala. Except Mundi, the three shooters in the second module have been arrested by the Delhi Police,” a police officer said.
Days after Moosewala was gunned down, the Delhi Police Special Cell took remand of Bishnoi in a MCOCA case and later made key arrests. Of these, Priyavrat, Kashish and Ankit Sirsa have been described as “shooters”, and Keshav Kumar as the link that provided vehicles to the gunmen and helped them escape.
According to Punjab Police, information obtained from an aide of Manu and Rupa also played a key role in tracking the two. The aide, Parmdalip Singh, was arrested in a robbery case on Monday.
The house where the two accused were holed up belongs to a local resident identified as Balwinder Singh near village Bhakna. “Around 10.15 am, three-four persons came to the house in two cars. After about five minutes, the police arrived,” said Bhakna village resident Gurbhej Singh, who was working on a fodder cutting machine near the encounter site.
ADGP Ban said that police are investigating if the house owner had any ties to the accused.