Three members of the gang that murdered members of cricketer Suresh Raina’s family in Punjab’s Pathankot last month, during a reported robbery, have been arrested, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said Wednesday, as he declared the case “solved”.
Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta said the accused were part of an inter-state gang of robber-criminals and that 11 other members of that gang, one of whom has already been identified were on the run. Efforts are being made to capture them as well, the senior cop added.
Mr Raina, who visited his family earlier today, said: “The police are doing a good job. I thank the Chief Minister for helping us.”
According to Mr Gupta the SIT (Special Investigation Team) probing the case received a tip earlier this week that the three arrested suspects – identified as Sawan (alias Matching), Muhobbat and Shahrukh Khan, all residents of Rajasthan – were holed up in slum dwellings near the Pathankot Railway Station.
The police raid that followed recovered two wooden sticks (presumably used as weapons), two gold rings and cash worth Rs 1,530.
The accused told the police they were part of a gang that had committed similar crimes across parts of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and even Jammu and Kashmir. They said they jumped from one location to another by following landmarks such as canals and railway lines.
Ahead of the attack – which took place on the intervening night of August 19/20 – the gang met up near the house of Ashok Kumar (Mr Raina’s uncle) after travelling in groups of two or three to avoid suspicion. Their first two attempted robberies on the night failed – Mr Kumar’s house was the third.
Five of the accused entered the house (they used a ladder to climb the wall) and saw three members of Mr Raina’s family sleeping on mats on the floor.
The suspects hit them on the head before moving through the house, attacking others and escaping with cash and gold ornaments, DGP Dinkar Gupta said.
They escaped, separated once again into groups of two or three and reached the railway station, where they divided the spoils and dispersed, Mr Gupta said.
Mr Raina, 33, lost his uncle (Mr Kumar) and his cousin Kaushal Kumar in the attack. His aunt (Mr Kumar’s wife, Asha Rani) remains in critical condition. Two others injured in the attack have been discharged from the hospital.
The cricketer arrived to be with his family after the attack.
“What happened to my family is Punjab was beyond horrible. My uncle was slaughtered to death, my bua & both my cousins had severe injuries. Unfortunately, my cousin also passed away last night after battling for life for days,” the cricketer, who had pulled out of the forthcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season due to “personal reasons”, tweeted.
Mr Raina had appealed to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for help, and Mr Singh had responded: “Beta (my son)… we will make sure that the guilty are brought to justice“.
With input from ANI