In a shocking incident, the station house officer (SHO) of a police station in Bihar allegedly shot dead a salesman of licensed liquor shop for his ‘refusal to provide him alcoholic drinks free of cost’.
The incident took place at Asta-Kharjamma village in Nalanda district of south-central Bihar, about 22 kilometres from the district headquarters town, which also goes by the name, Nalanda.
The man in the eye of the storm was Ram Pravesh Singh, SHO of the Tharthari police station, under the jurisdiction of which the Asta-Kharjamma village falls.
Police said SHO Singh opened fire on the salesman, Manoj Kumar, when he refused to give liquor for free. Kumar, a resident of Kandupeepar village under Chandi police station of Nalanda, died on the spot.
Nalanda superintendent of police (SP) Nishant Kumar Tiwari said the SHO had been put under suspension and raids were being carried out to nab the other culprits.
“But the SHO has escaped further action so far as all activity in the state had ceased owing to Holi holidays on Wednesday and Thursday” said an officer.
Hilsa deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Rakesh Kumar Sinha told HT on Friday a forensic science laboratory (FSL) team had lifted bloodstains from wall and a blanket used by victim Kumar.
Investigation so far has shown the quantity of blood that flows in a murder was not found on the spot. This appears to indicate the salesman was murdered somewhere else and his body thrown in the shop, Sinha added.
The DSP said the call details of the SHO were being scrutinized to ascertain his involvement in the case.
Deputy inspector general (DIG) of police, central range, Sunil Kumar, under whose jurisdiction Nalanda falls, said the police were awaiting the FSL’s chemical analysis report on the blood stains life from the spot.
The DIG confirmed the SHO had not been arrested till Friday afternoon. “But most stringent action will be taken against the SHO if his involvement in the murder is established”, told HT.
Earlier, in an FIR lodged at the Tharthari police station, liquor shop owner Sanju Yadav alleged that the SHO reached his shop at around 10 pm and demanded two cartons of a premium liquor brand, free of cost.
When the salesman asked him to talk to the shop owner, the SHO left the premises in a huff. “He returned after an hour, got the shop opened and shot the salesman, who was sleeping inside”, Yadav said in the FIR.
The SHO and other policemen in plainclothes escaped from the spot after the incident. Kumar, who was taken to the Sadar Hospital, was declared 'brought dead'.
Police sources, quoting the autopsy report, said that the bullet recovered from the victim's body was of a country-made pistol and not that of a police revolver. The deceased's brother, Ajay, claimed that the SHO had threatened Kumar 10 days ago on refusal to provide free liquor.
Irate locals put up a roadblock and gheraoed the police station, after the incident. They raised slogans against the administration and demanded action against the SHO and others involved in the incident.
Rakesh Kumar, the Hilsa DSP, and his Rajgir counterpart, Mukul Ranjan, rushed to the spot with reinforcement and pacified the mob. On Tuesday morning, irate locals again blocked the Noorsarai-Hilsa main road and disrupted vehicular traffic for more than three hours.