Dreaded gangster gunned down on court premises in Bihar’s Sitamarhi
Police said Santosh Jha killed two engineers in Darbhanga on December 26, 2015 , following their construction company’s denial to pay up extortion money. On Tuesday, he was being produced for a hearing in the case.Updated: Aug 29, 2018 13:18 IST
Armed assailants on Tuesday afternoon gunned down a self-styled Maoist commander-turned-criminal, Santosh Jha, on the Sitamarhi civil court premises in the presence of several policemen while he was being taken for hearing in the Darbhanga engineers’ murder case.
This is the second murder on the premises of a court in Bihar this year. A few weeks back, one of Santosh Jha’s close associates, Abhisekh Jha, was killed in a similar fashion on the Motihari court premises. No group has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s murder yet.
According to police, the three assailants opened fire on Jha with automatic weapons, also hitting a court staffer who was passing by. Both were taken to the Sitamarhi Sadar Hospital where the doctors pronounced Jha brought dead. The court staffer, whose identify could not be ascertained so far, was being operated on and reported to be out of danger.
“We have arrested one of the shooters while two others managed to escape. Few others have also been detained on suspicion. Their interrogation is on and we hope to arrest the other shooters soon,” said Sitamarhi superintendent of police Vikas Burman.
Police said all entry and exit points of the city were sealed to prevent escape of the shooters, and several places were raided to get leads in the case.
The incident sparked angry protests by lawyers at the civil court, who alleged such incidents in a high security court premises cannot occur without involvement of policemen.
“We demand a thorough probe. The state has plunged into utter lawlessness. Nobody is secure here. The audacious criminals had a free run in the court premises and escaped after gunning down an under trial while the heavily armed policemen escorting him remained mute spectators,” said an angry lawyer.
Jha was a dreaded name in Bihar’s Mithila belt for around two decades. Inspired by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) rebels and lured by the easy money they earned, he stepped into the crime world by joining a like-minded splinter outfit, Bihar People’s Liberation Front (BPLF) run by Santosh and Vikas.
Soon his aspirations grew and he eliminated the outfit commander before declaring himself the supreme leader. The outfit began collecting levy from local contractors, businessmen and traders.
Along with Vikas, Jha gradually turned the outfit into a professional criminal group hiring youngsters with the lure of easy money and turning them into contract killers. The group had acquired several sophisticated weapons including three AK-47 rifles. Till last year, the Jha gang had at least 40-45 shooters who carried out all sorts of crimes for money.
Though many of them were arrested and put behind bars, their dominance prevailed. However, over the passing years, he earned enemies who began targeting him and his men. His associate, Abhisekh Jha’s murder was a big setback for him.
Police said Jha and his gangsters killed two young engineers, Brajesh Kumar Singh and Mukesh Kumar Singh in Darbhanga on December 26, 2015 , following their road construction company’s denial to pay up extortion money in crores.
In March this year, a Darbhanga court convicted Jha and his nine other associates in the engineers’ murder case and sentenced them to life imprisonment. On Tuesday, he was being produced for a hearing in the case.
First Published: Aug 28, 2018 19:28 IST