Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday said the police have arrested three members of the gang that allegedly murdered members of cricketer Suresh Raina’s family in Punjab’s Pathankot last month, NDTV reported. With the arrests, Singh declared the case “solved”, even as 11 other members of gang are still absconding.
The accused were identified as Sawan alias Matching, Muhobbat and Shahrukh Khan. They are all residents of Rajasthan, the police said.
Punjab Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta told the channel the men were part of an inter-state gang of robbers. He said the remaining 11 members – one of whom has been identified – were on the run. “Efforts are being made to capture them as well,” Gupta added.
Raina, who visited his family earlier on Wednesday, thanked the Punjab government for their assistance. “The police are doing a good job,” he said. “I thank the chief minister for helping us.”
The attack was allegedly a case of robbery and took place in Thariyal village in Punjab’s Pathankot district on the intervening night of August 19 and 20. Raina’s uncle, Ashok Kumar, had died on the spot, while Kumar’s son, Kaushal, succumbed to injuries on August 31. Kumar’s wife, Asha Rani, is in hospital and her health condition is critical, according to PTI. Two others injured in the attack were discharged.
The cricketer had described the attack as “beyond horrible” and had Singh to look into this incident. Following this, a four-member Special Investigation Team was formed by the Punjab Police to investigate the matter. More than 100 suspected persons were examined during the investigation, according to The Indian Express.
DGP Gupta on Wednesday said the SIT investigating the case had received inputs earlier this week that the three arrested suspects were hiding in slum dwellings near the Pathankot Railway Station. The police then raided the location, captured the accused and recovered two wooden sticks – presumably used as weapons – along with two gold rings and cash worth Rs 1,530.
Gupta added that one of the accused told the police that their gang 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 on Raina’s family, the gang had met up near the cricketer’s uncle, Ashok Kumar’s house. They said the traveled in groups of three in order to avoid inviting suspicion. The accused attempted to rob two other houses that night, but failed. Kumar’s house was the third.
Gupta said the five accused used a ladder to trespass into Kumar’s house, where they found all members of his family sleeping. The suspects hit them on their head and stole the cash and other gold ornaments, the police officer added. “They [the accused] escaped, separated once again into groups of two or three and reached the railway station, where they divided the spoils and dispersed.”