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Skeleton near army centre

Hazaribagh, Nov. 21: A skeleton recovered from a septic tank near an army training ground in Ramgarh yesterday has triggered suspicions that it might be the remains of a milkman who had gone missing two months ago.

Banji Gope, 48, a resident of Chotakana village in Barkakana who used to supply milk to Punjab Regimental Centre (PRC), had not returned home after he had gone to the army camp on September 17.

Yesterday evening, his brother Khushilal spotted a skeleton when he had gone in search of a buffalo that strayed into the ground. As he went closer, Khushilal identified a pair of grey trousers and a shirt that lay on the ground as that of his brother. He immediately alerted villagers who gathered in large numbers.

The milkman’s kin have demanded police action against Kuldeep Singh, a constable at PRC. Gope’s son Rahul had charged Singh with abducting his father, following which an FIR was lodged on September 18.

Ramgarh SP Anis Gupta said the skeleton would be sent for a DNA test to confirm the suspected murder and know about the exact timings, adding they would also question the accused constable.

The SP said the abduction would now be turned into a case of murder.

Residents of Chotakana village, accompanied by Gope’s relatives, had earlier also gheraoed Ramgarh thana, demanding that police arrest Singh.

Sources said that after Gope went missing and the matter came to light, PRC officials showed a register to the police, revealing entries of names of people who had entered the army centre.

The register contained signatures of Gope, which suggest he had entered and also left the PRC on September 17.

However, the victim’s kin cried foul, claiming someone else had signed his name..

A PRC officer said they were ready to co-operate with police. “The place where the unused septic tank is located is not fenced. So, it is possible for outsiders to dump a dead body there. The police should probe the case properly and identify the guilty,” he added.