Fear ran high at an Indore hospital on Monday after a gunman in a doctor’s disguise pumped a bullet into an undertrial murder accused in a supposed case of mistaken identity.
The killing, possibly motivated by gang rivalry, took place in the presence of three jail guards at the Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital, where Ram Dayal was admitted after developing a swelling in his head.
Dayal (25) was allotted a guarded ward at the hospital with another murder accused, Jitendra, who goes by his first name. Jitendra is accused of killing a criminal named Pintu Thakur in Indore’s Banganga in 2013.
Sources at the hospital, Indore’s biggest medical facility, said the bed Dayal was shot in was allotted to Jitendra but the latter chose to sleep elsewhere, peeved by unhygienic conditions.
The gunman, wearing a doctor’s apron and a mask, walked into the ward around 4.15am on Monday and shot at Dayal, killing him almost instantly. The killer then fled the scene unchallenged by the jail guards.
“It's a case of mistaken identity. The person who killed the other prisoner must have been Hemu Thakur, who is Pintu’s brother. He must have come to kill me,” Jitendra told HT.
The police, however, could not immediately confirm Jitendra’s claim. “We are investigating that angle (of mistaken identity) too,” deputy inspector general of police Rakesh Gupta told HT.
The killing brought the world of gangland criminals into a wider public view and raised questions over security arrangements at Indore’s major installations. Those present at the scene claimed the police did not arrive at the hospital until two hours after the shooting, despite there being an outpost on the premises.
The police said they would go through footage captured by CCTV cameras installed at the facility to ascertain the killer’s identity. One of the guards, Yashpal, has been suspended for negligence in duty.