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Since 1st March, 1999
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Woman whiff in capital killings

Police have been able to make little headway with the daylight murders of two casual employees of Jharkhand Academic Council (JAC) right outside their workplace in Namkum, on the outskirts of Ranchi on Tuesday, though sources have claimed womanising habits of one of the victims as a possible trigger.

Hatia ASP Indrajeet Mahatha said they had interrogated several persons, but had failed to nail the motive. No one has been arrested so far.

Intermediate department clerk Gopi Kesariya (40) and secretary cell worker Ashutosh Mahto (50) were having tea and snacks from a food cart outside the JAC office around 10.15am when they were attacked by two men on a bike.

Tea vendor Shankar Singh, the only eyewitness to the incident, had said that the killers were between 16 and 20 years of age. They had sought directions to Karampada from Kesariya and then fire on him from a 9mm pistol. Mahto too was shot. Both had died on the spot.

Sources in the police said preliminary probe had suggested that Kesariya was a ladies’ man who again swore by polygamy. “He had illicit relationships with several women, besides having married four times. A few days ago, he had heated arguments with his third wife Sheena, a resident of Sisai, who he had abandoned after two and a half years of marriage to tie the knot with one Mary, his widow. Apart from this, he was also involved in dubious real estate dealings,” a policeman said.

Another officer maintained that a professional shooter had committed the crime. “The weapon that killed Gopi Kesariya and Ashutosh Mahto was a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Professionals use such firearms and involvement of a contract killer cannot be ruled out. Primary investigations also suggest that Kesariya was the target, but the criminals shot Mahto too perhaps not sure whether they had targeted the right person,” he said.

Namkum OC Rajdeo Singh refused to comment on the angles of investigation. “It will be wrong to say anything at this juncture. Please have patience. We have registered an FIR on the statement of Kesariya’s daughter Preeti. We also went to the primary victim’s residence, looking for his bank passbook, but did not find it,” Singh said.

Police had found Rs 66,000 in Kesariya’s pocket after his death on Tuesday.

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