UNIDENTIFIED men shot dead a 45-year-old jeweller in his shop at Rajapur under SK Puri police station area of the state capital on Saturday. Family members of the jeweller said he had been receiving extortion calls although police said they had not got any such complaint from him.
Following the murder, relatives of the slain jeweller and local residents protested against the deteriorating law and order situation and blocked traffic for several hours.
The incident took place around 10.15 am, a little after Ravikant Prasad opened his shop at Rajapur. Some unidentified men walked into the shop and shot him from close range. Before his employees could do anything, the assailants walked away from the shop.
This is the first case of murder over extortion demand in the city after formation of the Grand Alliance government led by Nitish Kumar.
The police suspect involvement of one Sultan Mian gang. Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj said: “We have identified some people behind the killing. We will solve the case in 24 hours. The jeweller had not informed us about any extortion call.”
Relatives of Ravikant, however, said he had been getting extortion calls and threats over some time. “But we had never thought that anyone will kill him in his shop,” said a relative.
The slain jeweller’s son, Saurav Kant, said: “My father had been getting extortion calls for the past five months. He had mentioned one Durgesh Sharma.” According to sources in the police, Durgesh is a member of the Sultan Mian gang.
Police sources said Munchun Gope, an associate of Durgesh, surrendered before a local court under police pressure hours after the murder. The police said Gope was one of the suspects.
The opposition BJP targeted the state government over the law and order situation. BJP state president Mangal Pandey said: “One can sense a return of jungle raj. The police are yet to crack the killing of two Darbhanga engineers… criminals have no fear of police even in the state capital.”
Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said: “Our police would act fast against the criminals. There is no reason to panic. The police will come hard at such elements and no one would be spared.”