If investigations held so far are any indication, conspiracy to eliminate Shubhdeep Singh – Sidhu Moose Wala – has been hatched long before he unsuccessfully contested Punjab Assembly elections in February this year.
Though the police is still trying to knit the entire story together after having taken in custody eight prime suspects in the case, certain glaring discrepancies, especially those relating to coordination between security and intelligence agencies, have come to light.
Normal protocol followed in case of protected people is regular sharing of inputs between intelligence agencies on one hand and the police providing visible security cover on the other.
However, several aberrations besides negligence on the part of the security agencies have come to light during the preliminary investigations.
While the police continues to hunt for the actual shooters involved in the May 29 fatal assault on Sidhu Moose Wala, it claims success in apprehending eight others involved in the assassination conspiracy.
Those already in the police net have been identified as Sandeep Singh alias Kekda of Sirsa (Haryana); Manpreet Singh, alias Manna, of Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda); Manpreet Bhau of Dhaipai (Faridkot); Saraj Mintu of Dode Kalsia village (Amritsar); Prabhdeep Sidhu, alias Pabbi, of Takhat-Mall (Haryana); Monu Dagar of Rewli village in Sonipat (Haryana); Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb, both residents of Fatehabad (Haryana).
Conspiracy was hatched either by end of last year or early this year as accused Prabhdeep Sidhu, alias Pabbi, who is suspected to have provided shelter to two associates of Goldy Brar, travelled from Haryana in January to conduct recce of Sidhu Moose Wala’s home and surrounding areas.
Further, going by investigations and revelations by police officials pursuing the case, a meticulous plan was drawn that virtually left nothing to chance.
Besides putting men of confidence together, vehicles, fire arms and ammunition and even shelters for conspirators, both before and after the assassination, were also part of the well-executed plan.
The executors had minute to minute detail of the movements of their victim. They used unsuspecting locals for inputs.
Moose Wala, who left his house at around 4.30pm on May 29 along with two persons- Gurwinder Singh (neighbour) and Gurpreet Singh (cousin), was ambushed a little later in his Mahindra Thar Vehicle, a few km away from his village.
Pramod Bhan, Additional Director General of Police heading the Anti-Gangster Task Force, while briefing newsmen held that Sandeep alias Kekda, on the directions of Goldy Brar and Sachin Thapan was keeping a tab on the singer’s movements by pretending himself as his fan. He also clicked selfies with the singer, just before he left his home to visit his aunt. Minutes later he was the target of a volley of shots fired from various weapons from three sides.
“Kekda has shared all the inputs like the singer was not accompanied by his security personnel, number of occupants, vehicle details and he is travelling in non-bullet-proof vehicle Mahindra Thar, with the shooters and handlers operating from abroad,” Pramod Bhan said.
Revealing further details of the investigations held so far, Pramod Bhan said that Manpreet Manna had provided a Toyota Corolla car to Manpreet Bahu, who further delivered the car to two persons— suspected to be the shooters, on the directions of Saraj Mintu, also a close aide of Goldy Brar and Sachin Thapan.
Talking further about logistics support, it was left to Monu Dagar to provide two shooters and help assemble the team of shooters to carry out this plan. All was done on the directions of Goldy Brar.
Pawan Bishnoi and Naseeb had handed over Balero vehicle to shooters besides providing them hideout.
All this planning and execution took a little more than four months and at no stage the intelligence got a wink as to what was going on.
Movement of not only suspects in the native village of the slain singer but also the frequent plying of Balero and Toyota Corolla vehicles in the area also went unnoticed.
In case, the intelligence agencies were in know of developments taking place or the plan being readied to assassinate Sidhu Moose Wala was at such an advanced stage, they would have put a spoke in the security reduction action that was executed just a day before the assassination.
Further investigations are continuing under the command of Jaskaran Singh, an Inspector-General of Police. The team has been working strategically and cohesive efforts are being made to arrest the identified shooters and other accused persons involved in the crime, Pramod Bhan said.