It was a stray bullet that killed a woman here during a hotel party on Karva Chauth. Google Maps helped solved the mystery.
Tech savvy senior superintendent of police Ravcharan Singh Brar used the power of Google satellites to reverse calculate the bullet's path to possible shooter. The shot hit Santosh Kumari, 45, of the military engineering service (MES) in the head on Friday (November 2) when she was celebrating the festival with friends on the top floor of a private hotel on the Barnala road.
Presenting the Google Maps of the area at the press conference on Tuesday, Brar said the police had used the charts to search the location of the weapon. "We plotted the bullet's trajectory on Google Map and looked for a weapon in the range," said Brar, new SSP of Bathinda. "As marriage palaces were in that line, the bullet could have travelled from there."
Also there was a marriage party on that the time of murder and the bullet could have from an aerial shot during that celebration. The police knew that the shot had come out of a new weapon. The marks on the bullet extracted from the victim's head pointed to a rifle barrel as the source. "As only new guns leave such sharp marks, it was possible that someone had been testing the weapon," said SSP Brar.
Inquiring from the gun houses, the police came to know that Shganpreet Singh, 35, a man of Gagan Nagar, had brought a weapon of late and his house was in the area marked on Google Maps. "The woman was not a target because the bullet was dying on its trajectory when it hit her," said the SSP. "The x-ray scan of her brain confirmed it. Shgunpreet was testing his weapon on his terrace at Gagan Nagar when one of the test-fired bullets killed Santosh Kumar by accident."
The police have seized a 0.315-bore rifle and five cartridges from Shgunpreet Singh and released him on bail after arrest. He has been charged under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 336 (endangering the personal safety of others) of the India Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 27 (punishment for using arms) 54 (renewal of licence) and 59 (fee payable on a petition for appeal) of the Arms Act.
"This incident should be a lesson to citizens that they should avoid firing in the air," said SSP Brar. "We'll secure written undertaking from the owners of marriage palaces that nobody on their premises would be allowed to fire aerial shots during parties."