Gangster Gounder, aides killed

Patiala, January 28- Eluding the police for over a year, notorious gangster and Nabha jailbreak mastermind Vicky Gounder and his accomplice Prema Lahoria were killed in a fierce encounter in Sriganganagar’s Pakki village on the Rajasthan-Punjab border on Friday evening. In the 16-minute gunfight, 40 shots were fired. Sub-Inspector Balwinder Singh and ASI Kirpal Singh were grievously injured.
A 35-member Punjab Police team led by AIG (Organised Crime Control Unit) Gurmeet Chauhan and Inspector Bikramjit Brar of the CIA, Rajpura, zeroed in on a ‘dhani’ (house in the fields) owned by Lakhwinder Singh. “As Lakwinder stepped out at 4.30 pm, we took him away for questioning. As soon as he confirmed that Gounder, Lahoria and their accomplice were hiding inside, we got going,” said Chauhan.
Five police teams were formed, DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta said. “Three  kept a watch on the three entrances, one was stationed outside to cover the escape route and another on the roof of the house. Lahoria was the first to come out. Sensing trouble, he tried to scale a wall to flee, firing at the policemen. He was shot.”

Gounder tried to flee through the main door along with an aide, firing indiscriminately and injuring two policemen. “Both were shot. Gounder died on the spot and an aide in hospital,” the DGP said.
The police obtained vital clues after Inderjit Sandhu was arrested at Indira Gandhi International Airport in December last. “We found some diaries in which he had mentioned phone numbers in code language. On December 27, we got a tipoff that the suspects had been seen in Abohar moving in a Swift Dzire car with a Haryana number plate (which was later found to be fake). We tracked the vehicle and zeroed in on the hideout,” explained Chauhan.
Gounder alias Harjinder Bhullar (27) alias Jinder, who belonged to Sarawan Bodla village in Lambi, Bathinda, had fled the maximum-security Nabha jail on November 27, 2016. He was the prime accused in  gangster Sukha Kahlwan’s killing.
“Wanted in more than 10 cases of murder, gangwar, jailbreak, extortion and smuggling, Gounder was under watch for his possible links with radicals as well as Pakistan’s ISI. He had recently obtained an automatic assault rifle from Pakistan through his handler Ramanjit Singh alias Romi (Hong Kong), also wanted by the Punjab Police. Romi may have had a role in the targeted killings in Ludhiana and Jalandhar in 2016-2017,” top police officials said.
Later in the evening, DGP Suresh Arora and DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta said three pistols — two of .32 bore and one of .30 bore — and a large quantity of ammunition were found at the encounter site, besides cellphones and dongles used for communication. Gounder was using the social media to issue threats to rival gangs and police officers. He was using multiple Facebook accounts operated through accomplices in various countries, including the Gulf nations, Cyprus and Germany, DGP Dinkar said, adding that the most followed account had more than one lakh followers and collectively Gounder had 4-5 lakh followers.



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