Chandigarh: The murderous gang of robbers who killed former India cricketer Suresh Raina’s relatives in Thariyal village of Pathankot district in Punjab late on 19 August had struck two other places in the neighbourhood the same night, but failed to find anything of value.
A special investigation team of the Punjab Police, which is probing the high-profile case, has found that the robbers first entered a godown in the village, then an empty house nearby, before breaking into Raina’s uncle Ashok Kumar’s house.
“The robbers used the same modus operandi to enter these places. When they did not find anything of value, they entered the victim’s house. It is typical of robber gangs to strike at multiple places in the same night,” Pathankot’s Senior Superintendent of Police Gulneet Singh Khurana told ThePrint.
Raina’s relatives, a family of five, were all attacked that night — uncle Ashok Kumar (58) and cousin Kaushal Kumar (32) were bludgeoned to death, while the cricketer’s paternal aunt Asha Devi is admitted at Chandigarh’s PGI hospital with critical injuries. Another cousin, Apin (27), who was grievously injured, is also in hospital, while Ashok Kumar’s mother Satya Devi has been discharged but still has severe trauma, said the police.
The police have lodged an FIR under sections 458 (lurking, house-trespass or house-breaking), 459 (grievous injury due to house-breaking) and 460 (causing death due to house-breaking), but no arrests have been made so far.
A member of the SIT told ThePrint: “A large team has been especially dedicated to this case. They are on the job round the clock. We should be able to crack this case soon.”
Bollywood actor and local MP Sunny Deol of the BJP also met the SSP Monday to discuss the high-profile case.
What the police are doing
While Ashok Kumar, who was hit on the head, died on the spot, Kaushal Kumar died last Monday in a hospital. Kumar worked as a government contractor for the Border Security Force.
“Theirs was the last house in the residential area of the village. The incident seems to have taken place at around 2am. It is confirmed that two men entered the house, though there could be more helping them. The robbers climbed the roof using a ladder,” said SSP Khurana.
“They found three members — Ashok Kumar, his elder son Kaushal Kumar, and his mother, Satya Devi, an old lady of about 80 — sleeping on the roof. Ashok Kumar and his elder son both were attacked with a blunt wooden object as splinters of wood have been found on the spot. They pulled out gold earrings from the old lady’s ears, injuring her severely. Then the robbers went down into the house from the roof and attacked Ashok Kumar’s wife and younger son. They rummaged through the entire house before leaving,” he added.
The police have procured CCTV footage from nearby houses to identify the robbers, but the SSP said “many of the cameras installed in the area were not working”.
“However, there are some visuals of vehicles on the road and we are analysing that data. We are working on whatever clues are available,” he said.
The police have also raided makeshift houses of criminal tribes which travel during this time of the year. At least three dozen persons are under the scanner, and inter-state raids have also been conducted in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Police sources added that the family is in a state of shock, but cooperating in every way possible.
“Asha Devi is critically injured. She is in PGI. The younger son Apin is also injured and cannot speak because his jaw is bandaged but is still giving details writing down whatever he recalls of that night. Satya Devi is in severe trauma. She has told us a few details and we are working on them,” said a senior policeman working on the case.
Raina pulled out of the upcoming Indian Premier League in the UAE citing personal reasons, and, last Tuesday, demanded a thorough probe into the incident.
Till date we don’t know what exactly had happened that night & who did this. I request @PunjabPoliceInd to look into this matter. We at least deserve to know who did this heinous act to them. Those criminals should not be spared to commit more crimes. @capt_amarinder @CMOPb
— Suresh Raina🇮🇳 (@ImRaina) September 1, 2020
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had then tweeted a response to Raina, assuring swift action.
Condole the brutal attack on kin of @ImRaina in Pathankot. Have ordered SIT probe into the case and have asked @DGPPunjabPolice to identify & arrest the culprits at the earliest. Beta, my DC & SSP have met the family and we will make sure that the guilty are brought to justice.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) September 1, 2020