Even as the state police has been put on high alert following the recent Pathankot attacks, three unidentified drug smugglers allegedly opened fire on a team of eight policemen and escaped, leaving behind their SUV at the checkpost where they were flagged down.
However, the incident is being viewed as “too dubious” by the police themselves.
Station House Officer, Dharamkot police station, Inspector Rashminder Singh, in his statement, has claimed that around 4 am Friday, when the police had set up a checkpost on Kot Isey Khan Road, three unidentified drug smugglers in a black Scorpio, with registration number PB 08 AN 4042, tried to evade checks.
The SHO has further claimed that when the police party tried to catch them, they reversed the SUV crashing it into a tree. They then opened fire at the police party and managed to escape into the bush, the FIR registered on the complaint of the Inspector states.
A total of 12 sacks with 420 kg of poppy husk was reportedly recovered from the Scorpio.
The FIR has been registered against three unidentified persons under sections 307 (Attempt to murder) of the IPC; 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act and 15, 25, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act.
Speaking to The Indian Express, SSP, Moga, Mukhwinder Singh, said no cartridge or outer shells of any bullet has been recovered from the spot.
“The inspector and his team followed the three but they managed to escape. They opened fire on our men though we have not recovered any cartridge or shell. Maybe they were carrying revolvers or countrymade pistols,” claimed SSP.
The SSP also claimed that the “Moga police is fully prepared in keeping with the high alert sounded in the state”.
Other senior officers, however, rubbished SHO’s claims.
“Even if it were countrymade pistols, there should be empty cartridges. Punjab Police is on a high alert and eight men were unable to catch the three drug smugglers. Further, they claimed they were fired upon. If that was so, why were other teams not alerted? What if it had been some terrorists and not local drug smugglers. We did not get any alert from SSP. There is every reason to probe if firing actually happened or not,” said a senior office to The Indian Express.
Another senior official said, “We cannot interfere as investigation is being conducted by the SSP himself. But how can eight policemen let get of three smugglers and if there was firing, why was there no cross-firing? The SHO should be interrogated.”
SHO Rashminder Singh, when contacted, claimed “the drug smugglers fired 2-3 times”. “We tried to catch them but they fled leaving the Scorpio on the spot. We are yet to identify the. No cartridges have been recovered. We were eight in the team and they were three,” he said.