Exposing chinks in the ‘security’ armour in Bihar, criminals on Monday shot dead a medicine trader in the business hub of Patna and an undertrial prisoner on Muzaffarpur court premises.
Another undertrial prisoner escaped from the Muzaffarpur court, taking advantage of the commotion following the murder.
In Patna, three unidentified criminals — aged 18 to 22 years — gunned down medicine wholesale dealer Anil Kumar Agarwal, 42, at his new Anil Generic Shop in Sharda Ghosh lane in front of Pirbahore police outpost on Govind Mitra Road around 9.20am. Police have recovered four used cartridges from the spot.
Agitated over the incident, businessmen of Govind Mitra Road closed their shops. Bihar Chemists and Druggists Association president Arjun Yadav gave an ultimatum to the police that medicine traders would launch agitation if culprits were not immediately arrested. Agarwal was shot minutes after he opened his shop and he died on the spot.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj, City SP Chandan Khushwaha, other officials and an FSL team reached the spot soon after the incident to start investigation. A police officer said the CCTV footage from a nearby girls’ hostel could throw some light on the identity of the criminals. “It has captured the incident,” he added.
The SSP said prima facie it was not a case of loot, as around Rs 2 lakh in the cash box was not touched. “The killers’ intention was clearly to kill Anil,” he added.
“In the course of investigation, it came to light that about 20 days ago an argument had taken place between a cart-puller and Anil over parking. The cart-puller was subsequently sent to jail. The family members have also given names of some suspects. Efforts are on to trace the criminals,” the SSP said, adding Anil’s family had been provided security.
In another incident, 80km north of Patna, making a mockery of the security arrangements on Muzaffarpur civil court premises, armed criminals opened fire leading to the death of undertrial prisoner Suraj Kumar.
The victim was taken to court for production in connection with the murder of Mohammad Sarfaraj alias Prince, a resident of Pankaj Market area under town police station. The court is adjacent to the office of the inspector general of Tirhut range.
The incident took place at around 9am when Suraj was being escorted to the court of the judicial magistrate from the court lock-up.
“As soon as my handcuffed brother came out of the lock-up, three assailants blocked his way and shot him from point blank range. He fell down and died on the spot,” said one of the victim’s sisters, who had gone to the court campus to meet Suraj.
The incident created panic in the court, as advocates, judicial officers as well as common people ran for safety. The judicial work remained disrupted for several hours. Muzaffarpur SSP (in-charge) Ashish Kumar said the police had got some clues about the offenders.
Taking strong action, Kumar has suspended the court lock-up in -charge and four others, while sending town police station SHO Manoj Kumar Singh to the police lines. “Five securitymen manning the lock-up have been asked to report at the police lines after their suspension for dereliction of duty. Even the SHO of town police station has been directed to report at the police lines with immediate effect,” said Kumar.
Meanwhile, police had to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation under control at Saraiyaganj Tower chowk in town police station area of Muzaffarpur when supporters of Suraj went on the rampage.
However, no police officer was ready to speak on the serious security lapse in the court where 40 armed policemen have been deputed since the bombing incident last year.
Muzaffarpur district magistrate Dharmendra Singh said, “The incident seems to be the fallout of a gang war. Police have started investigations.”