A tiny clue in an abandoned vehicle, followed by heavy technical surveillance has helped Punjab Police piece together a probable sequence of events that led to the killing of renowned Punjabi singer Shubhdeep Singh, who was better known as Sidhu Moosewala, an official police spokesperson said on Thursday.
At least ten people — including the alleged main conspirator, Lawrence Bishnoi — have been arrested so far for the killing of Moosewala at Jawahar Ke village on the evening of May 29. The police have also identified four shooters who were involved in the crime, the spokesperson stated.
According to the police, Moosewala had left his house at around 5 pm on May 29 along with two others — Gurwinder Singh (neighbour) and Gurpreet Singh (cousin). The Punjabi singer’s car was boxed in before he was shot dead by yet-to-be-identified assailants who fired indiscriminately at his Mahindra Thar vehicle.
Following Moosewala’s murder, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of the ADGP Anti-Gangster Task Force (AGTF), Promod Ban, to carry out investigations in the case.
Best of Express Premium
In a written statement on Thursday, ADGP (AGTF) Promod Ban stated, “One of our most important leads was the recovery of a fuel receipt (dated May 25, 2022) of a Fatehabad-based petrol pump from the Bolero car, which was used in the crime. The car was found abandoned near Khayala village about 13 km from the place of crime.”
Ban added that a police team was immediately dispatched to the petrol station of Fatehabad to gather CCTV footage.
“The police teams have procured CCTV footage and managed to identify one of the people involved, possibly a shooter. The man was identified as Priyawarat of Sonipat. CCTV footage was also procured from the route taken by the Bolero car before and after it arrived at the petrol pump station,” he said.
“Similarly, the owner of the abandoned Bolero car has been traced with the help of engine number and chassis number of the vehicle,” Ban added.
The police, he stated, have recovered all the vehicles — a Mahindra Bolero, a Toyota Corolla, and a Maruti Alto — used in the crime. “The assailants in the Toyota Corolla had stopped and snatched the Alto car at gunpoint after their vehicle was damaged while they were trying to escape towards Khara Barnala village. The white Alto car was found abandoned on May 30, at 3.30 am near Dharamkot in Moga district and the route taken by the accused was identified from the CCTV footage,” Ban stated.
Role of accused
“Apart from the arrest of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, who was brought on production warrant from Tihar jail in Delhi, nine others — Charanjit Singh alias Chetan of Ballram Nagar in Bathinda; Sandeep Singh aka Kekda of Sirsa, Haryana; Manpreet Singh aka Manna of Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda; Manpreet Bhau of Dhaipai, Faridkot; Saraj Mintu of Dode Kalsia village, Amritsar; Prabhdeep Sidhu aka Pabbi of Takhat-Mall, Haryana; Monu Dagar of Rewli village in Sonipat, Haryana; Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb, both residents of Fatehabad, Haryana — have been nabbed for hatching conspiracy, providing logistic support, conducting recce and harboring the shooters,” said the ADGP.
Ban said that the registration number of the Toyota Corolla car was found to be genuine and the owner was identified. However, the person on whose name an affidavit of purchase was recovered was not the current owner but had just given his Aadhaar card to one Manpreet Manna (a gangster linked to Goldy Brar), who is lodged in Ferozepur jail.
Ban added, “Manpreet Bhau, who was arrested from Chamoli in Uttarakhand on May 30 on suspicion of having supplied the Toyota Corolla used in the crime, revealed during interrogation that he had handed over the car to two suspected shooters — identified as Manu Kusa of Moga and Jagroop Singh alias Roopa of Amritsar on the directions of Manpreet Manna. He also revealed that the shooters were provided by Saraj Mintu, who is a close aid of Goldy Brar and Sachin Thapan.”
He added that Prabhdeep Sidhu alias Pabbi, who was arrested on June 3, has told the police that he had provided shelter to two associates of Goldy Brar, who had come and stayed with him. Pabbi, he said, has also confessed in helping the two men conduct a recce of Sidhu Moosewala’s house. “He had also visited Moosewala’s house and interacted with the security and checked the cameras etc,” Ban said.
The ADGP further stated, “Following reliable inputs, Monu Dagar, a close associate of Goldy Brar, and gangster Lawrence Bishnoi were brought on production warrant for interrogation by Punjab Police. During interrogation, Dagar confessed to having arranged two shooters identified as Priyawarat and Ankit, both residents of Sonipat, on the directions of Goldy Brar. He also disclosed that Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb, both residents of Fatehabad, had procured the Mahindra Bolero used in the incident from Sadul Shaher and handed it over to the shooters through a middleman identified as Keshav of Bathinda.”