Hours after he was suspended for allegedly misbehaving with a judge, a senior police officer in Chhattisgarh shot and killed his wife and severely injured their two children before turning the weapon on himself, police said.
Jagdalpur city superintendent of police Devnarayan Patel, who was among the officers credited with breaking the Maoist citadel of Abujhmaad, was found dead at his home in Jagdalpur’s Saket colony. Police said the 38-year-old officer appeared to have shot his wife Pratima around 1.30 am, before firing three shots at a wall, which ricocheted and hit their children. He is believed to have then shot himself.
The couple’s son Aranya and daughter Pooja were found in pools of blood. They were fighting for life in a Raipur hospital on Tuesday evening.
A one-line suicide note written in Hindi has been recovered from the officer’s home, which reportedly talks about the “arbitrariness” of his suspension. Five shots were found to have been fired from his service revolver.
Sources said that Patel had raided a Jagdalpur hotel on Sunday, following which he was chasing a suspicious man through the town. He apparently ran into a traffic jam, where he had an argument with Additional District Judge A Toppo. Patel is said to have
accused the judge of driving drunk, and allegedly manhandled him. Toppo complained to the state government about Patel’s alleged highhandedness, following which the officer was suspended.
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Jagdalpur acting SP K L Dhrube said it was too early to say what led to Patel committing suicide. The police were investigating “all angles”, he said.
But other officers said Patel had been clearly upset over what he believed was arbitrary action against him. They described him as an upright and dynamic officer who had cracked down on drunken driving in Jagdalpur over the past few months. The drive had earned him a lot of enemies in the town, they said.
Before being posted as Jagdalpur City SP last September, Patel was in Narayanpur for three years, during which he was credited with significant anti-Maoist action in Abujhmaad.
The state home minister has ordered a magisterial probe. The district collector has separately ordered a judicial probe into the incident. Patel’s family has, however, sought an investigation by the CBI.