A gangster wanted for the murder of two Punjab policemen and his associate were killed in an encounter with the West Bengal Special Task Force (STF) in New Town near Kolkata on Wednesday afternoon. One STF officer was injured in the encounter. Officials said Jaipal Singh Bhullar and Jaspreet Singh – wanted in several cases of murder and extortion as well as drug smuggling – had rented a flat in Sukhbristy Apartments in New Town. The STF said that it is working closely with the Punjab Police to nab the two. Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta said he had informed his Bengal counterparts on Wednesday about Bhullar and Singh’s presence in the flat. The Punjab Police gave information to the person who gave information for the arrest of Jaipal and Jaspreet respectively. A reward of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 5 lakh was announced. “We got information that both are hiding here. We planned the operation and surrounded the building. But he started firing. We fired in self-defense and they were killed,” said Vineet Goel, Additional Director General, West Bengal STF, after Punjab Police had confirmed their identity. Sources said Bhullar was the son of a former policeman from Punjab’s Ferozepur district, and was at one time a national level hammer thrower.
He was wanted in more than 15 cases of murder and robbery. Singh was a resident of Kharar. Bhullar and Singh were also wanted in the firing on a police party at Jagraon Anaj Mandi in Punjab on May 15. Two assistant sub-inspectors were killed in the attack. Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh, the Punjab DGP said he had launched “a massive operation, code called OP-Jack Manhunt” to hunt down the two. “Many teams were sent to different states.” Gupta said Bharat Kumar, an accomplice of Bhullar, was arrested with a pistol from near Shambhu border in Rajpura area on Wednesday. The DGP said Kumar, who had allegedly helped Bhullar and Singh, revealed that the two were hiding in a rented apartment in Kolkata. He said that he had sent a team to Kolkata by flight informing his Bengal counterparts as well. Gupta said, “A senior police officer from Kolkata Police informed us in the afternoon that both have been killed,” Gupta thanked the Bengal STF for taking prompt action on their inputs. Police claimed to have recovered Rs 7 lakh, five state-of-the-art arms and 89 rounds of ammunition from the flat in New Town. Injured STF officer Karthik Mohan Ghosh, 50, is hospitalized after being shot. With inputs from ENS, Chandigarh.