The Punjab Police on Tuesday said it has arrested eight people so far in connection with the murder of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.
They have been held on the charges of providing logistic support, conducting recce and harbouring the shooters of the singer, said police.
Police also said they have identified four shooters who were involved in the crime.
Those arrested have been identified as Sandeep Singh, alias Kekda, of Sirsa, Haryana; Manpreet Singh, alias Manna, of Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda; and Manpreet Bhau of Dhaipai, Faridkot.
Others who have been held are Saraj Mintu of Dode Kalsia village, Amritsar; Prabhdeep Sidhu, alias Pabbi, of Takhat-Mall, Haryana; Monu Dagar of Rewli village in Sonipat, Haryana; Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb, both residents of Fatehabad, Haryana.
On May 29, Moosewala was shot dead in Punjab’s Mansa district. The state police had termed the incident a case of an inter-gang rivalry and had said the Lawrence Bishnoi gang was behind it.
Canada-based Goldy Brar, who is the member of Bishnoi gang, had claimed the responsibility of the murder.
This murder was in retaliation of youth Akali leader Vicky Middukhera’s murder that took place last year.
Additional Director General of Police Pramod Ban, who heads the anti-gangster task force, said Sandeep, alias Kekda, on the directions of Goldy Brar and Sachin Thapan had kept tabs on the singer’s movements by impersonating himself as his fan.
Kekda also clicked selfies with the singer when the latter was leaving his home minutes before his murder, said Ban. ”Kekda has shared all inputs like the singer was not accompanied by his security personnel, number of occupants, vehicle details and he is travelling in non-bullet-proof vehicle Mahindra Thar, with the shooters and handlers operating from abroad,” ADGP Ban said as he was disclosing the role of each accused in the crime.
The ADGP said Manpreet Manna had provided a Toyota Corolla car to Manpreet Bhau, who further delivered the car to two persons-suspected to be the shooters–on the directions of Saraj Mintu, who is a close aide of Goldy Brar and Sachin Thapan. The ADGP said fifth accused Prabhdeep Sidhu, alias Pabbi, had provided shelter to two associates of Goldy Brar, who came from Haryana in January, 2022, and also got conducted recce of Moosewala’s home and surrounding areas through them. Monu Dagar had provided two shooters and helped assemble the team of shooters to carry out this murder the directions of Goldy Brar, said police. Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb had handed over a Bolero vehicle to the shooters and also provided them with a hideout, said Ban.
Ban said four shooters involved in the murder of Moosewala have been identified.
”Names of other persons belonging to Punjab and other states have also emerged, who had played a role in planning, providing logistic support, arms and ammunition and hideouts to the criminals, who carried out this dastardly act,” said Ban.
Strategy-based cohesive efforts are being made by the SIT along with various units of Punjab Police and other agencies to arrest the accused, he said. Operations are being carried out in different states simultaneously to nab the accused at the earliest, said Ban.
ADGP Ban said the Special Investigation Team, headed by IGP Jaskaran Singh, has been working strategically and cohesive efforts are being made to arrest the identified shooters and other accused persons involved in the murder. Moosewala was shot dead, a day after the state government curtailed his security cover. His cousin and a friend, who were travelling in a jeep with him, were also injured in the attack.
A CCTV footage, which later emerged on social media, showed that the vehicle of Moosewala was being followed by a Corolla car in Jawahar Ke village.
Then the Bolero vehicle stopped in front of Moosewala’s Thar and then the occupants of the Corolla and Bolero vehicles started indiscriminate firing at the singer. The Punjab police had set up the special investigation team (SIT) to probe the murder Moosewala, under the supervision of the head of the anti-gangster task force (AGTF).