|Police personnel outside the steel plant after the murder was reported. Picture Pankaj Singh
Bokaro, June 11: It was a rude awakening for Bokaro Steel Plant today after a senior worker of a private firm involved with the PSU’s makeover was found murdered within the premises.
Mohammad Asif Khan, 40, a supervisor with M/S Balkrishna Bakhtawar Singh (BKBS), was found by fellow workers in a pool of blood in a temporary guest house-cum company office set up near the coke oven of the plant.
The police have arrested one Lokenath Sorain, a labourer who was among the six picked up for questioning.
According to the police, Khan was on night duty and had turned in after work around 2 am. He had dinner, which he had brought with him, spoke to a few workers asking them wake him up at 5am and then went inside his room alone. That was the last time he was seen.
This morning, he was found dead with blood all over him and the floor, when workers went in to call him. There were around 150 to 200 employees, many belonging to the steel plant, working within a radius of 10-15 metres of the BKBS office-cum-guesthouse. But no one claimed to have heard anything. This has led the police to conclude that Khan’s killers were perhaps known to him and were waiting for him inside his room to strike the moment he entered.
By the time workers rushed him to Bokaro General Hospital this morning, it was too late.
Bokaro SP Priya Dubey, who is investigating the case, said they deployed a dog squad after recovering a blood stained iron rod which was probably the murder weapon. The police, she added, had also taken fingerprints from the room.
“During the time of the murder, scores of people were working nearby,” Dubey told The Telegraph. “Also, Khan was killed after he was repeatedly hit with an iron rod on his head and abdomen.”
She said the fingerprints pointed to the involvement of several people in the killing. “Interrogations are on and a few of them were already changing their statements. We are sure of cracking the case in a day or two,” said Dubey.
The steel plant is in the midst of a massive modernisation drive inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh no less on April 22.
A plant spokesman said, “We have given all details to the police. It was now upto them to conduct investigations. We will continue to cooperate with them.”
The police admitted that after BKBS was awarded a contract worth Rs 280 crore to handle the civil construction of the new steel plant, its personnel were receiving threats from members of the underworld based in UP and Bihar asking them to pass on petty contract jobs. However, BKBS officials refused to comment, saying it was a police matter.