Man suspected of killing singer Sidhu Moose Wala arrested in Delhi

At least eight others have been detained by Punjab police

Sidhu Moose Wala was shot dead a month ago. Photo: Joe Okpako / Projoe Photography
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Indian police have arrested the prime suspect in the fatal shooting of popular singer-turned-politician Sidhu Moose Wala, more than a month after the killing.

Police said alleged gunman Ankit Sirsa, 19, was arrested on Sunday in Delhi alongside an accomplice, taking the total number of arrests connected the high-profile assassination by Delhi police to five.

At least eight others have been arrested by Punjab police for their involvement in the killing of the singer.

Moose Wala, whose real name is Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, was a popular Punjabi singer, with a fan following in India and among large Punjabi diaspora in Canada, the UK and Australia.

The 29-year-old was shot nearly 30 times by members of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi’s group while he was driving an SUV near his home in Moosewala village in Mansa district of northern Punjab on May 29.

Police said Mr Sirsa was the youngest among the assassins and shot at least six bullets from two pistols into the singer from a close range.

“Our team captured Ankit on Sunday night who shot at Moose Wala from the closest range,” said HS Dhaliwal, Delhi Police Special Commissioner.

“Special cell continues its strides to bring the perpetrators of Moose Wala case to justice."

A video of the two men celebrating the fatal shooting emerged after the phone of Mr Sirsa was scanned. The now-deleted video was posted by his Instagram handle.

Indian Youth Congress activists pay tribute to Punjabi Singer and rapper Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu popularly known as Sidhu Moose Wala, during a candle light vigil in New Delhi. EPA

Another picture of the teenager shows him posing with bullets spelling out 'Sidhu Moose Wala's name apparently days before he allegedly carried out the fatal shooting.

Delhi Police had arrested three others accused of being involved in the killing from western Gujarat state last month and seized weapons including grenades, pistols and a rifle.

Police claimed that Bishnoi, a notorious gangster lodged in capital’s Tihar Jail, had ordered the foot-soldiers of his gang to carry out the killing in retaliation of the murder of a local leader last year in which the singer's manager's name had surfaced.

Moose Wala was an electrical engineering graduate and began his career in 2017 after releasing his first song on YouTube.

Within four years, his songs had more than four billion views on the video platform.

Last month one of his songs SYL was posthumously released on YouTube but was removed from the platform within three days after the Indian government demanded it was pulled down over its politically sensitive lyrics.

The song had gained 22 million hits and had entered the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 Chart at number 81.

A forensic team investigating the crime scene had found that Moose Wala's car had 30 bullet holes after it was ambushed from all the sides by the assailants, who are suspected of having used an AN-94 Russian assault rifle.

Moose Wala was both popular and controversial because of some of his songs were seen as promoting gun culture and violence and he was allegedly in the radar of gangsters.

He had allegedly suffered threats to his life several times and was given police security cover. But on May 28, the regional Punjab government reduced his protection to two police officers.

He was among the 420 people, including prominent religious figures, whose security cover was removed to divert police resources to maintaining law and order.

The singer often drove a bulletproof vehicle but on the fateful day, he was driving an unarmoured vehicle and had refused to take his bodyguards with him.

Updated: July 06, 2022, 10:35 AM
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