THE LUCKNOW police Saturday claimed to have arrested a man who allegedly shot dead Hindu outfit leader Ranjeet Bachchan on February 2. The suspect, Jitendra Verma, suffered a bullet injury on his leg in a shootout while he was trying to escape, police said. They also claimed to have recovered a .32 pistol used in the murder from Verma’s possession.
On Friday, the police produced before a local court three “conspirators” in the murder case, including Bachchan’s second wife Smriti Srivastava, her alleged lover Deependra Verma and driver Sanjeet Gautam – who all were sent to jail.
Last Sunday, Bachchan, the head of an organisation called Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha, was shot dead in Lucknow’s Hazratganj area, while his cousin suffered a bullet injury in the attack. His first wife, Kalindi Sharma Bachchan, had alleged that her husband was killed as he was a “Hinduwaadi leader”. On Thursday, police said they had cracked the case and arrested Smriti, Deependra and Sanjeet. Jitendra is a cousin of Deependra and had a reward of Rs 50,000 for information leading to his arrest.
“Since Thursday we were trying to trace Jitendra (27) and on Saturday early hours, we got a tip-off that the alleged shooter was near Charbagh area. The Hazratganj police tried to intercept him. Meanwhile, the Alambagh police laid a trap near Devikhera turning. Spotting police, the accused opened fire and in retaliatory fire he suffered a bullet injury in his leg. He has been admitted to a hospital,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Central Lucknow, Dinesh Singh.
He said that while Deependra does not have a criminal history, they are looking if Jitendra was facing cases. A .32 countrymade pistol was recovered from Jitendra, who hails from Rae Bareli, he added.
Earlier, Lucknow Police Commissioner Sujeet Pandey had said that there was no terror motive in the killing of Ranjeet Bachhan and that the murder was planned by Smriti, who was having an extra-marital relationship with Deependra and wanted to marry him. Pandey said Smriti and Deependra hatched a conspiracy of murder because Bachchan was not ready to leave Smriti.
‘During investigation, we came to know that Bachchan’s relationship with his second wife, whom he married in 2014, had turned sour. Smriti had filed for separation in a family court in 2016 but Bachchan had so far not appeared before the court. The last date of hearing was scheduled for January 27, on which Ranjeet had again not appeared. Smriti told police that the immediate reason of provocation which led to the murder occurred on January 17, was when Bachchan wanted to take Smriti to celebrate their wedding anniversary, but when she refused, he slapped her,” Pandey had said.
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