The Punjab Police Monday made a breakthrough in the Sidhu Moosewala murder case by arresting a man from Haryana’s Sirsa district who is alleged to have passed on information about the singer’s movements to the sharphooters who waylaid his vehicle and shot him. Sources said police also identified eight sharpshooters involved in the case, including two who are residents of Pune.
The accused arrested from Sirsa has been identified as Sandeep alias Kekra, who was roped in to conduct the recce by Sachin Bishnoi, who has claimed to have killed Moosewala “with his own hands”. Sachin is the nephew of Lawrence Bishnoi, a jailed gangster from Punjab whose gang members had initially claimed to have carried out the killing as revenge.
A Punjab Police official said: “Sachin used Kekra for conducting the recce.” The official said Kekra, who himself is “not an active gangster” is a “long time friend” of Sachin. He hails from a village near Kalianwali in Sirsa.
Kekra, sources said, went to Moosewala’s house on the evening of May 29 and “mingled with a group of men believed to be the singer’s fans who clicked selfies with him”. He then shared the real-time details about Moosewala leaving his home with the assailants, sources said.
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Police are believed to have zeroed in Kekra on the basis of a CCTV footage from near Moosewala’s house at his native village Moosa.
On Sunday, the Punjab Police had nabbbed Davinder Singh alias Kala from Fatehabad for allegedly providing shelter to two others suspected of arranging one of the vehicles, a Bolero, used in the crime and affixing fake number plates. The police had made the first arrest in the case on May 31 when they nabbed Manpreet Singh Bhau, who is alleged to have arranged the other vehicle — a Toyota Corolla — used in the crime.
On June 3, the police had arrested two people — Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb — in another murder case registered in Moga and are probing their role in the Moosewala murder.
Meanwhile, eight sharp shooters are learnt to have been identified by the police in connection with the case and they hail from different states, including Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra, the sources said.
Moosewala was killed while he was driving his SUV in Jawahar Ke village of Mansa district in Punjab.
The police suspect the involvement of sharpshooters and gangsters not only from Punjab and Haryana but also from states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra in the murder.
The Pune police said one of them, Santosh Jadhav, is a prime suspect in another case in which a 24-year-old history-sheeter was gunned down in the district in August last year. However, police have no information about the other suspect from Pune, identified as Saurav alias Mahakal.
A senior officer from Pune rural police said, “We have not received any communication from Punjab Police. But Santosh Jadhav, as identified in media reports, is a prime suspect in the murder of Onkar Bankhele, who was shot dead on August 1 last year. Our latest information was that Jadhav was hiding somewhere in Rajasthan. After seeing media reports on Monday, a communication has been sent to Punjab Police. Their reply is awaited.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police said that a 22-year-old sharpshooter from the Kala Jathedi-Lawrence Bishnoi gang, who has been arrested for extortion, may also be involved in the murder Moosewala.
Delhi Police said the sharpshooter, Akshay Palda, is involved in 16-17 murder cases across Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. In Delhi, he is involved in an MCOCA case along with Bishnoi and Jathedi. In the case for which he has been arrested, he allegedly made extortion calls from inside jail to a businessman demanding Rs 5 crore.
DCP (Central) Shweta Chauhan said Palda was “also emerging as a suspect in Moosewala’s murder”.
Police sources said Palda’s role in “making calls” for the murder is being looked into. “We are verifying allegations. Following Jathedi’s instructions, he might have contacted his associates to target Moosewala. We are checking his call detail records for the same,” said a source.
Moosewala’s parents on Saturday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and urged for probe by a central agency into the singer’s killing. Earlier, the state government’s request for a probe by sitting high court judge into the murder was turned down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
With ENS, Pune & Delhi
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