The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lounge bar murder chills Guwahati nightlife

Guwahati, July 22: Blood flowed along with spirits in a Guwahati lounge bar-cum-restaurant last night.

A bullet fired by the man he was having a conversation with over drinks killed sweet shop owner Rajesh Kumar Shah, 30, at Chandrama’s 21 AD in Ganeshguri around 11.45pm.

Tarun Baruah, another businessman, shot Shah after what looked like a heated exchange of words between them, police said.

Music was blaring inside the lounge, one of the few that give the city a semblance of life after dusk, and the waiters were busy serving drinks and food when Baruah took Shah to a corridor and shot him from point-blank range. The bullet pierced his cheek.

The accused, a frequent visitor to the lounge bar, fled before any of the employees or guests could react. He has been absconding since.

An employee of Chandrama’s 21 AD said Baruah and Shah seemed to be arguing over something since 11.15pm. “The barmen and the waiters could not hear anything because of the loud music. It seemed Baruah and Shah got up from their seats and moved to the corridor, where the incident occurred.”

Shah was taken to a nearby private hospital and shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital later, where he was declared dead.

A source at Dispur police station said almost all the bar employees who noticed Baruah and Shah said they entered the lounge around the same time on Saturday evening. It has yet to be ascertained whether they knew one another well.

“They did sit close to each other in the lounge bar. A programme was under way at the time,” the source said, quoting witnesses.

Shah used to manage a sweet shop at Lalmati in Basistha. Baruah, whose roots are in Sivasagar district, lives in Ganeshguri.

Jagannath Shah, the victim’s father, said his son left the shop around 7pm. “I came to know later that Rajesh was attending a function. We did not receive any information about his whereabouts throughout the night. The police contacted us only this morning.”

The lounge bar was closed today. The owners, Pankaj Kalita and Dhiren Mahanta, were asked to appear before the police.

A conversation between three men ended with one among them getting a bullet in his neck at Hotel Ambarish on February 25.

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