A small clue seized from a vehicle used in the crime helped Punjab Police unveil a trail of events related to the sensational murder of Punjabi singer Shubhdeep Singh, popularly known as Sidhu Moosewala, that led to the arrest of 10 people, including main conspirator Lawrence Bishnoi, investigators said on Thursday.
The police have identified four shooters behind the crime, an official statement said.
Moosewala, who left his house at around 5 p.m. on May 29 along with two persons — Gurwinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh (cousin) — was shot dead by unidentified people.
Acting swiftly, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the supervision of the ADGP (Anti-Gangster Task Force-AGTF) to bring his killers to justice.
One of the important leads in the case was the recovery of a receipt of May 25 of a petrol pump in Fatehabad in Haryana.
It was recovered from a Balero car, which is believed to be used in the crime. It was later found abandoned near Khayala village, some 13 km from the crime scene, said the ADGP AGTF, adding a police team was sent to the petrol station in Fatehabad to gather the CCTV footage.
“The police teams have procured the CCTV footage and managed to identify one of the accused, possibly a shooter, who was later identified as Priyawarat of Sonipat,” he said. Similarly, the owner of the vehicle was traced.
The police have recovered all vehicles, including Mahindra Bolero, Toyota Corolla, and White Alto car, used in the crime. The assailants in Toyota Corolla had stopped and snatched a White Alto car at gunpoint, leaving behind Toyota Corolla, which got damaged during the incident and escaped towards Khara Barnala village followed by the white Bolero Jeep.
The white Alto was also found abandoned on May 30 near Dharamkot in Moga district and the route taken by the accused was identified from the CCTV footage.
Apart from arresting gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, who was brought on production warrant from Tihar Jail in Delhi to Punjab, the other nine arrested accused have been identified as Charanjit Singh of Bathinda; Sandeep Singh alias Kekda of Sirsa, Manpreet Singh of Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda; Manpreet Bhau of Faridkot; Saraj Mintu of Amritsar; Prabhdeep Sidhu of Haryana; Monu Dagar of Sonipat; and Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb, both residents of Fatehabad.
They have been arrested for hatching conspiracy, providing logistic support, conducting recce and harbouring the shooters.
The ADGP said the registration number of the Corolla vehicle 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 actual owner but had given his Aadhaar card to Manpreet Manna, the gangster linked to Goldy Brar, who is lodged in Ferozepur jail.
Manpreet Bhau, who was arrested from Chamoli in Uttarakhand on May 30, during interrogation said he had delivered the car to two suspected shooters identified as Manu Kusa of Moga and Jagroop Singh, alias Roopa, of Amritsar on the directions of Manna.
He also revealed that the shooters were provided by Saraj Mintu, who is a close aide of Goldy Brar and Sachin Thapan, and is believed to be a part of the group of shooters.
Prabhdeep Sidhu, alias Pabbi, who was arrested on June 3 in his interrogation said he had provided shelter to two associates of Goldy Brar, who had come and stayed with him and he helped them to conduct recce of Moosewala’s house.
He has also visited the house and interacted with the security and checked the cameras, etc., it is revealed.
Following inputs, Monu Dagar, a close associate of Goldy Brar and Lawrence Bishnoi, was brought on a production warrant.
During interrogation, he confessed to having arranged two shooters identified as Priyawarat and Ankit, both residents of Sonipat on the directions of Goldy Brar.
He also disclosed Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb, both residents of Fatehabad, had procured the white Bolero jeep used in the crime from Sadul Shaher and further handed over to the shooters through Keshav, a resident of Bathinda, and had also provided them hideout.
Sandeep Kekda, who was arrested on June 6, during questioning revealed that his brother Bittu of Kalianwali along with Nikku Takhat Mal of Sirsa had been conducting a recce of the movements of Moosewala.
He said on May 29 his brother Bittu had tasked him to accompany Nikku on his motorcycle to visit the house of Moosewala posing as his fans.
He confessed that they took selfie with the singer on Nikku’s mobile phone and the latter made a video call to Sachin Thapan to inform him about the real-time information about Moosewala that he had left his house without security and sitting on the driver’s seat in the black Thar jeep.
The investigation has so far revealed that the arrested accused were acting on the directions of Lawrance Bishnoi and Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar, Sachin Thapan, Anmol Bishnoi and Vikram Brar, now in Dubai.
Further, these gangsters had bluntly claimed responsibility for the murder through Facebook profiles.
Lawrance Bishnoi, Goldy Brar and others have been nominated as accused and conspirators in this case along with their gang members, said the statement.
Meanwhile, the AGTF and the Special Investigating Team (SIT) are working in close coordination with central agencies and other state police forces to identify and arrest the suspected shooters and others involved at the earliest.