Three unidentified men made away with a taxi on 14 May after thrashing its driver near Aujla village in Gurdaspur, prompting police to sound an alert in the neighbouring areas.
The incident took place when the driver, Pardip Saini (40), was on his way to Pathankot after dropping a passenger in Amritsar via Gurdaspur bypass on Saturday night.
Police said three men in an MUV allegedly hit him after accusing them of hitting their vehicle. In his complaint Saini said they pushed him outside and snatched the key of his white taxi - with a Punjab registration number - and took the vehicle away along with the MUV.
"When he reached Babbri bypass near Aujla village at about 10:15 PM on 14 May, a MUV (multi-utility vehicle) stopped in front of his car. Three men, who were drunk, thrashed Saini with a stick after accusing him of hitting their vehicle," Jagdeep Singh Hundal, Senior Superintendent of Police, Gurdaspur said.
The assailants were speaking in Punjabi, Hundal, adding that the MUV also bore an 'On Duty' sticker. The men abandoned the car at Dostpur village, in the Kalanaur area of Gurdaspur - about 1.5 to 2 km from the crime scene, police said.
Police have traced the MUV and identified its owner as Gurdev Singh, a resident of Bhuchar Khurd in Tarn Taran district. "They will soon be arrested," Hundal said.
The SSP said that the police has sounded an alert in Gurdaspur, Batala, Pathankot and Hoshiarpur districts to trace the assailants.
A case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Tibber police station in this regard.