LAHORE: CIA police shot dead three suspected criminals during an ‘encounter’ staged at a deserted site near Lakhoder in Manawan in the wee hours of the morning.

The suspects were in police custody for the last couple of weeks. According to police sources, they were being grilled in connection with armed robberies, reported in different parts of the metropolis in the recent past.

Investigators identified the alleged robbers as Hamza, Adeel, and Shahid alias Ali ninety. The bodies were moved to the morgue for an autopsy.

Police sources revealed the investigators shot and killed the criminals in a fake encounter after the police recovered looted cash, gold ornaments, and other valuables worth Rs4.5 million from their possession.

According to police, the cops remained unhurt during the crossfire which continued for a considerable time near Inayat Town. Police claimed the suspects were taken to a hideout in Inayat Town to arrest other accomplices of the bandits who opened fire on the police party. As a result, three bandits were shot and killed.

Two days ago, Capital City Police Officer Muhammad Amin Wains addressed a news conference at his office and confirmed the arrests. The suspects Hamza, Adeel, and Shahid alias Ali ninety were also produced before the media.

Fake police encounters are common in the crime-prone Punjab province. At least 450 crime suspects were killed in shootouts across the province last year. These extrajudicial killings are said to be part of the national action plan devised in December 2015 to purge the society from militancy and extremism.