Two gangsters, suspected to be among the shooters in singer Sidhu Moose Wala’s murder, were killed in a shootout with the police near Amritsar today. Three policemen were injured too. While Jagroop Singh Roopa was killed first, the other suspect, Manpreet Singh alias Mannu Kussa, continued to fire for about an hour before he was killed around 4 pm, in a shootout that lasted more than four hours, officials said.
In the crossfire, a news channel’s cameraperson got a bullet injury in his right leg.
State police chief Gaurav Yadav also reached the site by the end of the encounter at Bhakna village, 20 km from Amritsar. “An AK-47 rifle, a pistol and a large number of bullets have been found,” ADGP Pramod Ban, who heads Punjab Police’s Anti-Gangster Task Force, told reporters at the site.
The encounter started around noon as the task force had been tailing the two men. They were among three shooters who were still on the run. While these two were tracked down, Deepak Mundi has not been traced yet. The rest — there were at least eight shooters — have been arrested.
Ambulances had reached the spot just minutes before police declared Jagroop Roopa dead. The area, around 10 km from the border with Pakistan, had been cordoned off and people told to stay indoors.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, alias Sidhu Moose Wala, 28, who was a Congress leader besides being a singer-songwriter and rapper, was shot dead near his village Moosa in Punjab’s Mansa district on May 29.
Mannu Kussa had fired the first shots at Moose Wala from an AK-47 rifle, police sources said.
Police from Punjab, Delhi and Mumbai are on the case. The murder was directed allegedly by Canada-based Satinderjit Singh, alias Goldy Brar, in coordination with gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, who was already in Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Goldy Brar is alleged to have claimed responsibility for the murder through Facebook posts. The posts said it was revenge for the murder of an Akali leader Vicky Middukhera last year. Interpol has since issued a Red Corner Notice to trace Goldy Brar in connection with two other cases registered at Faridkot in Punjab.
Punjab’s Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government has been facing questions, too, as the murder took place just a day after Sidhu Moose Wala’s security was cut down to two cops as part of a larger drive against “VIP culture”. However, the singer hadn’t taken the two cops along, nor was he using his bulletproof car, when he was attacked.