BJP MLA from Jharia, Sanjeev Singh, and four of his associates have been booked for murder in an FIR lodged in connection with the killing of former Dhanbad Deputy Mayor and Sanjeev’s cousin Neeraj Singh and his three aides. The Congress leader, his guard Munna Tiwari, driver Gholtu Mahato and personal assistant Ashok Yadav, were shot dead on the evening of March 21 in the Saraidhela police station area of Dhanbad.
The police, meanwhile, said they had got some leads in the probe. They added that they were in touch with an eyewitness who was in the vehicle at the time of the attack but survived with minor injuries. A Special Investigation Team (SIT), comprising officers from the district police and the CID, is working on the case.
The FIR was lodged on the basis of the statement of Abhishek Singh alias Guddu, the youngest brother of Neeraj Singh. In his statement, Abhishek has alleged that when he came to know about the shooting, he rushed to the spot and saw Sanjeev and his aide Jainendra Singh on a bike. He has said Sanjeev, who was riding pillion, held a firearm wrapped in a gamcha. Abhishek has also said in his statement that the accused threatened him, saying that he too would be killed like Neeraj, before speeding away. Besides Sanjeev and Jainendra, Mahant Pandey and Siddharth Gautam have also been named in the FIR. Neeraj’s family could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.
Speaking to reporters for the first time after the incident, Sanjeev said: “I came to know about my name (in the FIR) through media reports. We have not received a copy of the FIR so far. I can only say that my associates and I are ready to cooperate with the police. I am ready for any investigation.”
Sanjeev refused to answer questions about the allegations levelled by Neeraj’s family members. “Such allegations have been levelled against us for the past many years. I feel mentally distressed due to such allegations. All I can say is that I am ready for any kind of inquiry from any agency,” he said.
DIG (Bokaro Range) Saket Kumar Singh said: “We will be questioning the MLA about his movement and location on the day of the crime. We are probing the case from various angles. It is too early to ascertain the reason behind the incident.” He added that the aides of the MLA booked in the case may have a few criminal cases against them. “Details about them are being gathered,” he said.
DIG Singh added that one Aditya Raj, who was in the SUV with Neeraj and others, survived the attack with a bullet injury in his hand. “He is safe and we are in touch with him. We have recorded his statement,” he added.
Meanwhile, markets across Dhanbad remained closed on Thursday during a bandh called by opposition parties to protest the incident. The administration had deployed police and CRPF personnel to maintain peace.