Bubu Konwar of central Assam is a known car thief and murder suspect. What’s unknown until his arrest this weekend is that he is a contract killer, with 42 hits by his own admission.
In front of television cameras on Monday, the 38-year-old owned up to his involvement in several sensational murders, including that of a popular physician in 2006 and a Congress leader two years later.
“He is a dreaded car thief and several murder cases are lodged against him. What surprised us was his boast that he has killed 42 people,” said Rishikesh Hazarika, in-charge of Pulibor police station in Jorhat district.
Konwar started his innings in crime early. Beginning with petty thefts and robberies when he was 16, he graduated to car thefts, murders, kidnappings and extortion.
Money was the sole motive of this lynchpin of a gang involved in killing politicians, businessmen, taxi drivers and professionals.
“He used to honey-trap businessmen with the help of girls and extort money from them,” officer Hazarika said.
Konwar has more than 50 cases — including seven murders and 27 car thefts — against him and was arrested several times before. But he always got bail because of botched investigations and continued his criminal activities.
He was released from Jorhat jail only a few days before his re-arrest on Sunday.
“My husband was used by politicians to murder their rivals. They used to pay him big sums,” Konwar’s wife, Panchi Gogoi, told news channels on Monday.
The murder of prominent doctor Mridul Baruah, Congress leader Hemanta Baruah, businessman KL Ginoria in 2012 and school headmaster DN Gogoi in 2014 had grabbed headlines in Assam. These were alleged victims of Konwar.
The shocked police want to verify Konwar’s boast of 42 murders, but their efforts suffered a setback as the district court sent him to 14 days judicial custody.
“The order will affect our investigation. We will apply again to seek police custody so that his involvement in the murders can be established with proof,” Hazarika said.
Konwar lost three fingers of his right hand eight years ago trying to make a crude bomb at home, but that didn’t deter the son of a former Nagaland police constable from continuing his crime run.
“He is from Amguri in Sivasagar district and he grew up in Nagaland. After a crime, he would flee to that state,” said Amguri police station in-charge Kiran Nath.
Konwar came in touch with criminal elements early in life. His underworld links in Nagaland now helps him cool his heels in the hill state after a crime in Assam.