A week after a 55-year-old Dalit woman was murdered just days before she was slated to record her statement as the prime witness in her son’s murder case, her son-in-law too was shot dead outside his home in Meerut Monday morning. A case of murder has been lodged and the village head — allegedly a relative of the accused in the murder cases of the woman and her son — has been detained, police said.
According to the police, Savitri Devi’s son-in-law, identified as Babloo, was shot dead outside his home in Chitkari village, around 40 km from Savitri’s home in Rajapur village.
Station House Officer (SHO) of Sardhana police station Dharmendra Rathore said, “Babloo was taking a bath outside his house when three persons riding a motorcycle arrived and fired at him. He suffered three bullet injuries and died on the spot. Hearing gunshots, his brother Mahendra ran out of the house and raised an alarm. The assailants managed to escape, but left behind a bag containing a countrymade pistol, a cell phone and a photograph.”
The SHO further said local residents had told him that Babloo had allegedly assured the village head that he would talk to his mother-in-law, and the case would be settled. However, ADG (Meerut zone) Anand Kumar claimed that Savitri’s murder and that of her son-in-law were not connected. He further said they were yet to discover the motive behind Babloo’s killing, and that the case was being investigated.
“Babloo’s brother Mahendra has named village head Sant Singh in the murder case and claimed that Singh is a relative of the accused in the murder cases of Savitri Devi and her son. He alleged that Singh was pressuring Babloo to force Savitri to reach a compromise in her son’s murder case. Mahendra also claimed that Singh had developed an enmity with Babloo since he was not following his directive and got him killed by his aides,” said Rathore.
He further claimed that local villagers had told police that Babloo had tried to convince Savitri Devi to settle the case, but she had turned down his suggestion. Babloo was not a witness in the murder cases of Chetan and Savitri Devi, he said. Circle Officer of Sardhana Santosh Kumar Singh said police teams are conducting raids to trace Sant Singh, who is absconding, and efforts are on to identify the three shooters.
Savitri Devi was shot at by assailants near her house in Saroorpur police station area on February 3. Three days later, she had died in a hospital. She was the prime witness in the murder case of her son Chetan alias Bhura, who was shot dead in 2015, allegedly over an argument with his neighbour Sumit Jat, lodged in Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail since then.
After her death, an FIR was lodged by Savitri’s son against 14 people including four who are accused in Chetan’s murder case. Three of them are out on bail. Sumit was booked on conspiracy charges in Savitri Devi’s case, said
Saroorpur police station SHO Rishi Pal. He is a history-sheeter with 12 cases pending against him. “Police have arrested four accused in the Savitri murder case. Nine are on the run,” added Pal. Additional Director General, Meerut Zone, Prashant Kumar said, “Prima facie, we have not found any evidence linking the murder case of Babloo with Savitri Devi. The motive behind Babloo’s murder will come out soon.” Two police gunners have been provided to Savitri Devi’s other two sons, Meetam and Ravi.