Ranjeet Bachchan (40), leader of a lesser-known Hindu outfit, was shot dead by an unidentified assailant while he was on a morning walk in Lucknow’s Hazratganj area on Sunday. His cousin Aditya Srivastava, who was accompanying him, suffered a bullet injury too. He is reportedly out of danger.
Police later released photos of two suspects and announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for any information on them. Four policemen have been suspended for laxity.
“Today morning, one Aditya Srivastava informed police that while he was on a morning walk with his cousin (Bachchan), a person stopped them and pointed a pistol on them. He tried to snatch their mobile phones and, in the scuffle, fired a shot that hit Bachchan on the face, killing him. Srivastava suffered a bullet injury in his left arm,” said Joint CP (Law & Order) Naveen Arora.
Bachchan, hailing from Gorakhpur, was president of Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha and lived his wife, Kalindi Sharma Bachchan, at Lucknow, said police.
While investigators suspect a snatching attempt led to the murder and cite the attempt to snatch phones and chains from the two, they are also looking at the angles of personal and political enmity.
“We have come to know that Bachchan’s relationship with his wife was not cordial. Reportedly, an FIR was lodged in Gorakhpur. We are confirming it,” Arora said.
DCP (Lucknow Central) Dinesh Singh said Bachchan’s wife has accused “Muslims” of killing him as he was a “Hinduwaadi leader”. According to the DCP, Kalindi had also gone for the walk but she was ahead of Bachchan and Srivastava when the murder took place.
Police also said Bachchan had married twice. “During investigation, we found that he recently celebrated the birthday of his three-year-old daughter he has with his second wife. He and Kalindi had a son, who died three years ago.”
Police said Bachchan had been associated with the Samajwadi Party in the past and took part in cycle rallies between 2002-09. “Kalindi said he was even awarded for his good work. We have been informed that he founded Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha and was its national president. He lived in an apartment allotted to him by the previous SP government,” said Arora.
Samajwadi Party leader Ravidas Mehrotra said that Bachchan was not officially a member of the party, but was associated with them. He said Bachchan was close to SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav who had gifted him an SUV and allotted the apartment.
A forensic team has inspected the crime spot and collected samples. “Eight teams of Crime Branch are working on the case,” said the Joint CP, adding that police are also checking the background of people associated with Bachchan.
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