A 25-year-old soldier serving in the Indian Army was arrested in Punjab for allegedly stealing two INSAS rifles and ammunition from the army’s training institute in Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh, police said on Tuesday.
The stolen arms and ammunition have been recovered, according to Hoshiarpur Senior Superintendent of Police, Gaurav Garg.
Harpreet Singh, who was declared a “military deserter” in October by the army, was arrested from Chotala village near Tanda in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur district on Monday, said Mr Garg.
He was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for theft, making preparation to commit dacoity and dishonestly receiving stolen property and the Arms Act, the senior police officer said.
His three accomplices, including one Jagtar Singh alias Jagga – son of Harbhajan Singh, who is an accused in the drones arms drop case in Punjab’s Tarn Taran in September, were also arrested, Mr Garg said.
Posing as army officers, the accused had stolen the rifles and ammunition in the early hours of December 6, forcing the police to sound a high alert.
Police claimed that Harpreet Singh, who belongs to Hoshiarpur’s Miani village, along with his accomplices, had allegedly planned to loot some jewellery and garments shops and also steal cars to make a quick buck as he wanted to pay-off a debt of about Rs 60 lakh owed by his family.
“He wanted to make quick money through illegal activities,” the senior police officer told PTI over phone.
However, the police said that foreign role behind the theft cannot be ruled out yet and the case is being investigated from all angles.