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Public help sought to check crime in city

Guwahati, Oct. 6: The recent spurt in crimes in the city has prompted police here to seek public support through various means, including social networking sites and text messages.

The appeal came a day after chief minister Tarun Gogoi ordered a high-level inquiry into the death of Tata Motors executive Nilutpal Lahon under mysterious circumstances on Nilachal Hills on Thursday evening.

Gogoi yesterday tweeted that he had asked chief secretary Naba Kumar Das to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of Lahon, 37, the husband of additional superintendent of police Leena Doley and son of former Lakhimpur MLA late Lakhon Lahon.

City senior superintendent of police Anand Prakash Tiwari told reporters here today that the police had been able to arrest four persons in connection with the Wednesday night murder of Dilip Saikia, a trader at Bhetapara. He said the arrests, which came within two days of the murder, were possible only because of massive support from the local people of Bhetapara.

Saikia, who had a laundry service and garment business, was killed by a group of criminals who slit his throat with a sharp weapon.

Sources said though the incident seemed like a robbery at first, the police started treating it as murder because nothing was looted from Saikia’s house. “It has been found that Saikia’s manager, Abdul Kader Ali, was behind the murder. Ali, who is suspected to have some personal enmity with Saikia, hired around six persons from Barpeta to kill the latter. The murder must have been an act of revenge, which the police is investigating,” Tiwari said.

He said the police could arrest five of the accused including Ali a day after Saikia’s murder because of massive support and cooperation from citizens of Bhetapara. The two other absconding accused would be arrested soon, he added.

Tiwari said similar public support could help crack many crimes faster and people could lend their support through various modern means, including text messages and social networking sites.

More than 12,800 criminal cases are pending at police stations in the city. Dispur police station tops the list followed by Jalukbari, Paltan Bazar and Panbazar.

On other hand, the police have already started investigating the death of the Tata Motors executive.

“At this stage, the forensic experts are conducting scientific investigation of various evidence collected from the site of Lahon’s death. The police are now awaiting the reports. Once these come, we will start interrogating friends, relatives and those close to Lahon to draw a logical conclusion on the cause of his death,” Tiwari said, neither admitting nor ruling out the possibility of murder.

“The pistol that was found in Lahon’s hand at the time of his death actually belonged to his wife Leena Doley, who is a police officer. We are trying to ascertain how Lahon got his hands on the pistol,” Tiwari said. Lahon’s death has jolted the Assam police hierarchy, with the chief minister seeking a report on the status of the inquiry into the alleged harassment of Leena Doley by inspector-general of police (logistics) Mukesh Agarwal.