Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 10
Officials of Punjab Police’s Organised Crime Control Unit (OCCU) follow a ritual after neutralising a gangster — cross-mark his picture in the collage of wanted men hung in almost all rooms of the unit.
The killing of Jaipal Singh Bhullar, the longest surviving gangster-fugitive — in Kolkata on Wednesday was the culmination of a five-year-long effort of unit officials to trace him.
The encounter by the West Bengal Police, in coordination with their Punjab counterparts, came barely two hours after the arrest of Jaipal’s aide Bharat Kumar, near Shambu barrier yesterday afternoon. From him, the police got information about Jaipal’s hideout.
The Punjab Police had to race against time as Bharat could not remain ‘unreachable’ to Jaipal or his aides for very long. The police got senior intelligence and security officials of the country involved. Within two hours, a team of special task force of the West Bengal was scrambled to raid the hideout.
A month-long chase, when the fugitive was spotted after a long time in Punjab on May 13, preceded the climax. Supervised by DGP Dinkar Gupta and ADGP Amit Prasad, a team of 20 field operatives, led by AIG GS Chauhan, went on his trail. The team members travelled across Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi and Kolkata. “This time, his luck ran out,” said Chauhan.
A master of forging identities and developing safe houses and network, Jaipal had hoodwinked the police all these years. “Nearly 80 plastic chip cards used to make new Aadhaar IDs with matching driver’s licences and other ID proofs, recovered from his Kolkata hideout, showed his expertise,” said Chauhan.
In addition, a pen drive containing Hollywood spy and crime thrillers was found. On May 13, during a routine checking at a Khanna naka, Jaipal got into a scuffle with a police team, but fled. It was only later that the police recognised him using the CCTV footage.
“He started wearing a pony tail recently, while his accomplice Jassi sported French beard. Using his photos, our software revealed his real identity. However, he carried a 9mm pistol taken away from a policeman. The same weapon was used in the murder of two ASIs in Jagraon.”
They revealed Jaipal, Jassi, Darshan Singh and Baljinder Babbi drove for two days and a night after the Jagraon murders. Teams of the OCCU first spotted them in Rajasthan. The four were picked up by cops from the Rajgarh police chowki picked from the rear of a dhaba, where they were asleep, thinking they were petty drug smugglers.
The police took their vehicle and asked them to follow on foot. However, the suspects fled and ran for three hours along a railway track before Jaipal contacted an associate and arranged another vehicle.
They reached Gwalior and stayed there for some time. Darshan and Babbi were nabbed from Dabra, near Gwalior, on May 28. They told the police Jaipal and Jassi had gone to an undisclosed location in a white Verna car, arranged by Bharat, a businessman in Sahnewal and married to a woman in Kolkata. The police, however, could not trace the car at toll booths. It was only after Bharat’s arrest that the police learnt that Jaipal had travelled in a white Honda car, which was tracked down. Within hours of Bharat’s arrests from the Shambu border yesterday, Jaipal was killed in an encounter.
Fled custody in Rajasthan
On the run after killing two ASIs in Jagraon, Jaipal and three aides were picked up by Rajasthan cops at a Rajgarh dhaba, where they were asleep. Told to follow on foot to police station, the suspects fled
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