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CIMA Gallary

Poser over trader death

The mystery behind the death of liquor trader Prem Kumar Singh has complicated further with police and family of the victim giving contradictory statements.

Prem’s body was recovered near the tracks at Kumhrar railway crossing early on Thursday.

Police sources told The Telegraph on Friday that a state police constable, who was deputed as the bodyguard of the deceased, had taken a leave just a day before Prem was found dead. The constable, identified as Vansh Bahadur Lal, was with Prem since March 2010. Police are not ruling out a role of Lal in Prem’s death.

Prem’s family members, however, have rebuffed the police claim of the constable being on leave or being involved in his “murder”. “He (Lal) never took any leaves,” said Sunil Singh, the younger brother of Prem.

“Lal’s quarter is located at the fire brigade station, which is just a 10-minute walk from our home. When Prem had to go out for a longer time, only then he used to take the bodyguard with him. On Wednesday, my brother stayed at home the whole day and hence the bodyguard was not called. Around 7.20pm, Prem left home saying he will be back in 10 minutes. There was no need to call the bodyguard as Prem went out on foot,” Sunil added.

The police, meanwhile, claimed the bodyguard was off duty that day. “It is yet to be found out if he had forwarded an application for the leave to the police lines or had told Prem the same verbally. We have requested the officers at the police lines to confirm the same. Lal didn’t report to duty on Thursday morning. This angle is also being probed,” a police officer said.

A source in the police lines told The Telegraph that the constable had not forwarded any application for leave.

“He must have told Prem verbally,” the source said.

The police have not yet clarified if Prem’s death was a murder or an accident. Police sources, however, said the injuries on the body were ante-mortem (old wounds which may or may not have led to death) by nature. This claim stems from the fact that dried blood had been found on the body. The family members refuted this claim too, saying the body lied unattended for a long time before being discovered by them late in the night. This delay may have caused the injuries to dry up.

“The police are saying the wounds are ante-mortem. This, too, means that he was first beaten up and then his unconscious body was kept beside the tracks. The dried blood proves the man died hours ago. His valuables were taken away so that it would give an impression of a loot case. It is quite contradictory as cops are still not saying that he was murdered,” a police source said.