Patna, July 21: Anil Kishore Yadav, the then Katihar superintendent of police (SP), had on August 5, 2008 visited the house of Vijay Kumar Thakur and pledged to arrest his killers at the earliest. Then district magistrate Devottam Verma had accompanied the SP. The bodyguard of BJP MLC Ashok Kumar Agarwal was charged with firing at Thakur, leading to his death.
July 21, 2012: Katihar SP Kim visits Dheeraj Mahto’s house and says the marauders would not be spared, whosoever they may be. This time, district magistrate Birendra Kumar Yadav did not intervene in the case. The MLC, Agarwal, has been accused of firing at his employee, Dheeraj. His bodyguard, however, claimed that accidental firing from his licensed weapon caused Dheeraj’s death.
There is a striking similarity in the two murder cases that rocked Katihar town, about 320km northeast of Patna. In both cases, the culprits were still at large, raising a finger on lethargic pace of investigation. The police officers in the district were accused of adopting soft stance when it came to initiate action against people having connections in the corridors of power. The family members of Kumar and Thakur are unhappy with the “tardy” pace of investigation. Dheeraj’s widow Rekha said had the police taken against Thakur’s assailants, her husband would have been alive today. “The role of the police is doubtful,” she said.
Rekha hoped that Kim would be able to understand the miseries of a woman separated from her husband forever. “I hope the new SP will deliver justice to our family,” she said, adding that her husband’s case would also meet the same fate as happened with Thakur, a landlord of Katihar .
Thakur’s widow, Archana Bharti, lamented that nothing happened in the murder case of her husband. He was killed allegedly for not transferring the ownership of a plot of land to the MLC. “Agarwal wanted to set up a petrol outlet in Katihar. Every time the MLC’s bodyguard is charged with committing the crime. As the matter gets subdued, the MLC uses his clout to set the bodyguard free and also absolves him of the charge. That is the case with my husband’s murder case,” she added.
Kim, who assumed charge as the new superintendent of police of Katihar on Friday evening, took charge of the investigation into the mysterious death of Dheeraj, who was employed by the BJP MLC as a munshi (caretaker). She visited the spot and met members of the bereaved family today. The SP said about 10 people, including the two bodyguards of the MLC in question, have been interrogated.
“Though there is no substantial breakthrough, I am trying to extract correct information so that justice could be done to the victim’s family. Nobody is above the law and the perpetrators of crime wouldn’t be spared,” she said. Kim added that she met the family of Dheeraj.
The state police headquarters has directed the Katihar SP to send the forensic team to Patna to seek opinion of a ballistic expert to ascertain the “projectile motion” of the bullets, which hit Dheeraj. “The ballistic examination of the weapon will decide whether the bullets were fired intentionally or by accident,” an officer said.