A 22-year-old hotel receptionist was shot dead allegedly by two men after he did not let them meet a woman boarder in the early hours of Saturday in Vibhuti Khand police station area of Lucknow, police said. Police have arrested five accused in connection with the alleged murder.
While the main assailant, Dheeraj Narang (24), a resident of Uttarakhand, was arrested along with Rubi and Gurmeet, both aged 23 and residents of Delhi, during the day, Abhay Singh and Hariom Singh were nabbed late on Saturday night while they were trying to escape to Barabanki.
“The two men came to the reception of Hotel Sara Grand in Vishesh Khand area of Gomti Nagar, and following an altercation with the receptionist, Krishna Pratap, fired shots at him. He suffered a gunshot injury to the chest and fell on the floor. By the time, other hotel staff heard the gunshot and rushed towards the reception, the assailants had managed to escape. The injured was then rushed to the nearby Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where he was declared brought dead,” said Anoop Kumar Singh, SP (North).
As per the CCTV footage collected by the police from the hotel, two youths can be seen walking to the receptionist and firing shots from a close range following an argument. One of the assailants had covered his face with a towel, police added.
“We have recovered the towel used by one of the assailants to cover the face. He had thrown it on the road while escaping from the spot. The towel belongs to another hotel called Shubh Inn. We found that Narang, his friend Rubi were staying at Shubh Inn. At around 10 pm, Narang had come to Hotel Sara Grand to meet Gurmeet, whom he had befriended online. As Pratap did not allow him to meet her, he went back,” SSP Kalanidhi Naithani said.
“When we interrogated Rubi, who we caught from Shubh Inn, she told that Narang came back to his room feeling humiliated. According to her, when Narang spoke to Gurmeet over WhatsApp, the latter allegedly incited him to settle scores with the receptionist. Rubi, too, admitted to have provoked him. Narang then allegedly called his friends Abhay and Hariom and returned to Sara Grand where following an argument, he allegedly shot at Krishna,” the SSP added.
While Narang and Abhay allegedly went ahead to “settle scores” with the receptionist, Hariom was standing outside, police said.
Meanwhile, the hotel staff claimed that when Narang had first come to the hotel to meet Gurmeet, she herself refused to meet him. “Narang had come around 10 pm and asked for Gurmeet. Generally we do not allow visitors in the hotel after 10 pm.
But Pratap called up Gurmeet, but she refused to meet anyone. Later at around 1.30 am, Narang, along with another person, came back and confronted the receptionist. As per the CCTV footage, while they were talking to him, they took out a gun and fired three shots. The first two bullets hit the wall behind the reception and third one hit Pratp. By the time other staff reached, the two had escaped,” a senior staff of the hotel said.
“Gurmeet checked into our hotel at around 4 pm Friday. She had booked the hotel for two persons via a mobile app and had all the required identity documents. According to her ID, she is from Punjab. Though the room was booked for two, she was staying alone,” a hotel staff said.
The staff added that Pratap was living alone in Lucknow and was working in the hotel since it was opened four months ago.