Two alleged gangsters involved in killing two policemen recently in Ludhiana, were gunned down by a Kolkata police team in a shootout there in the metropolis on Wednesday, a top Punjab police official said.
Gangsters Jaipal Singh Bhullar and Jaspreet Singh Jassi were shot dead by a Special Task Force team of the Kolkata police on “pin-pointed” information provided by the Punjab Police about the gangsters’ hideout in a housing society in the New Town area of the city, he said.
In the operation, which took place at around 3:30 pm, a Kolkata police inspector too was injured, he said.
The Punjab police had declared earlier an award of Rs 10 lakh on Ferozepur resident Bhullar’s arrest and that of Rs 5 lakh over Mohali man Jassi’s apprehension, the official said.
The two had been on the run since the killings of two assistant sub-inspectors at the new grain market at Jagraon in Ludhiana.
Their two other accomplices were nabbed by a joint team of Punjab and Madhya Pradesh at a railway station near Gwalior, minutes before they were to take a train to Maharashtra on May 28.
Addressing a news conference here, Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said Jaipal Bhullar was an 'A' category gangster and was involved in the killing of the two ASIs last month at Jagraon in Ludhiana.
Gupta said after they came to know that both Bhullar and Jaspreet were holed up in a rented apartment in Kolkata, the Punjab police dispatched a special team to Kolkata by flight on Wednesday.
“In the meanwhile, we also coordinated with Kolkata Police to share pinpointed inputs regarding their current hideout for the arrest of these two most-wanted drug smugglers,” said Gupta.
The DGP said a senior police officer from Kolkata police informed later in the afternoon that both the criminals had been killed in retaliatory firing by the Kolkata STF in which one of their police inspectors had also sustained bullet injuries.
He said four pistols had been recovered from the flat by the STF of the Kolkata police.
“I am grateful to the West Bengal police, especially the ADGP & STF Chief of West Bengal, Vineet Goyal, who acted immediately on inputs provided by the Punjab police and organised a raid at the Kolkata apartment where Bhullar was holed up along with his associate, Jassi,” said Gupta.
After the killings of the two ASIs at Jagraon and a pistol snatching incident near Doraha last month, police had launched a massive operation code-named 'OP-Jack' manhunt to nab Bhullar and Jaspreet.
Many police teams were dispatched to various states to nab these gangsters with the help of other state police forces, he stated.
The duo’s hideout in Kolkata was traced after the arrest of one Bharat Kumar, a Ludhiana resident from near Shambhu border in Rajpura area and recovery of one .30 bore pistol, along with a car, bearing West Bengal registration number from him.
Bharat, a close accomplice of Bhullar, had been providing logistic support to him in the Gwalior area of MP after Bhullar and Jassi had fled from Punjab.
Two other accused -- Darshan Singh and Baljinder Singh -- involved in the murder of the two ASIs were nabbed from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh on May 28.
The two ASIs had gone to the grain market in Ludhiana where they had noticed four people shifting drugs from a truck to their car.
When they asked them to surrender, the accused opened fire, resulting in the death of the two ASIs.
Bhullar, who fell to the Kolkata police bullet was the son of a retired assistant sub-inspector of Punjab police and was a promising sportsperson as a hammer thrower.
But he graduated in crime, with his name figuring in Punjab police files as a dreaded gangster, wanted in more than 25 criminal cases, including those of murders and drug smuggling, and on the run since 2014.
Bhullar was presently involved in smuggling of drugs from across the border in close collaboration with major drug smugglers based in Pakistan.
The DGP said the neutralization of Bhullar and his key accomplice in Kolkata would be a big dent on the heroin drug smuggling network, being operating from across the border.
Bhullar was also allegedly involved in the killing of gangster-cum-politician Jaswinder Singh Rocky in 2016, at Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh. He had suspected that Rocky had leaked information about another gangster Shera Khuban, who was shot dead in a police encounter in 2012.
He even took responsibility for Rocky’s murder on social media and declared it as the revenge of the Shera Khuban encounter.
In 2017, Bhullar had allegedly looted Rs 1.30 crore from a cash van on Chandigarh-Patiala Highway near Chitkara University and Rs 35 lakhs from an ATM loading van in Ropar.
In 2020, Bhullar carried out a dacoity in which he looted about 33 kg gold from Ludhiana, an official said.