The Punjab Police on Monday arrested two women, Harpreet Kaur and her sister Rupinder Kaur, on charges of harbouring gangster Dilpreet Singh, possessing arms and ammunition and drugs. The police suspect that Dilpreet was using houses of both the women to take refuge and keep his drug consignments. Dilpreet, wanted in over 17 cases of murder, attempt to murder, extortion and drug peddling, was arrested from Sector 43 in Chandigarh after a brief encounter with joint teams of Punjab and Chandigarh Police. He suffered two bullet injuries in the cross-firing.
Harpreet Kaur, a resident of Nawanshahr district, is a widow and has two sons. She runs a boutique at Nawanshahr and has been working as an Anganwari worker for the last seven years. Rupinder, a private company executive, was staying in a rented accommodation in Sector 38-C in Chandigarh.
Police investigations revealed that Dilpreet came in Harpreet’s contact through a Jalandhar-based drug peddler in March-April 2017. “He started visiting Harpreet at Nawanshahr. He met Rupinder for the first time at Harpreet’s residence and soon befriended her. Since Rupinder was separated from her husband, it is suspected that they both developed a relationship and started living together in Chandigarh,” a senior Punjab Police officer told Chandigarh Newsline.
Police investigations revealed that Dilpreet was a frequent visitor at Rupinder’s home in Chandigarh. “She had introduced him as her husband. Rupinder has two children — a son and a daughter — who study at Sector 40 government school. She never disclosed her husband’s occupation. He [Dilpreet] was a soft-spoken person and frequently visited Rupinder. Many times I saw him pick newspapers from his doorstep. He used to address me as didi and my husband as bhai sahab. We could never imagine that he was a notorious gangster. We learnt it yesterday when police raided Rupinder’s residence and took her along,” said Ritu Aggarwal, Rupinder’s neighbour. Ritu is a convent school teacher in Chandigarh.
Rupinder is a private company executive. Police officers told Chandigarh Newsline that Rupinder used to work as an executive with a private company, which deals in herbal products in Chandigarh.
In Nawanshahr, Harpreet’s two sons, aged 17 and 16, are the ones left behind in the double-storey house located in Waheguru Colony, around 1.5 km from Nawanshahr district headquarter. Harpreet and her sister Rupinder had purchased the house around nine years ago.
“Police came to our home yesterday and took our mother away. They told us that she will return home today. But she has not returned yet. We don’t know where they have taken her and for what,” Harpreet’s elder son told Chandigarh Newsline.
Harpreet’s sons told Newsline that they last saw Dilpreet at their residence around six months ago. “He occasionally used to visit our mother. We knew that he was a gangster, but could never dare ask our mother about purpose of his visits. We do not know if he was in regular touch with our mother on phone,” Harpreet’s elder son added.
On Monday, the Punjab Police announced that they recovered one kg heroin, besides arms and ammunition from Harpreet’s residence. However, her sons deny the police claim. “Police only recovered two registration number plates from our home. Nothing else was recovered from here. They came to our home yesterday around 7.15 pm. Our aunt Rupinder was also with them. Police searched every nook and corner of our home for around an hour. Then they took our mother with them,” Harpreet’s sons told Newsline.
“No one from our relatives and police had contacted us to inform about our mother. We did not even go to our school thinking that our classmates shall taunt us,” Harpreet’s elder son said.
Harpreet hails from Padrana village in Garhshankar tehsil of Hoshiarpur district.
Harpreet’s husband Harminder Singh died around nine years ago. He was a commercial vehicle driver.
Circle supervisor of the Nanwanshahr block told Newsline that Harpreet got job of an Anganwadi worker around seven years ago in the “widow category”.
“Her father had retired from the Punjab audit department a few years ago. He was settled in Chandigarh. Harpreet was running an Anganwari centre on the ground floor of the same house where she was staying with her two sons. Today we have shifted our Anganwari centre from there,” said another Anganwari worker of Nawanshahr block.
Harpreet’s neighbours told Newsline that they were shocked to know that she was an accomplice of a gangster.
“She is an ambitious woman. She was working as an Anganwari worker and also running a boutique to ensure that she could provide best education to her sons. We were shocked when we learnt that she was arrested on charges of harbouring a gangster and possessing drugs,” one of Harpreet’s neighbours told Newsline.