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Dowry suspect in Nagri death

In a distinct development in Wednesday’s mysterious death of a former MLA’s niece in Ranchi, the father of the deceased has lodged an FIR against his son-in-law and family members of the latter, accusing them of murder for dowry.

Twenty-nine-year-old Puja Singh was found dead with a bullet in her stomach at her Kute village home in Nagri in the afternoon.

Though circumstantial evidence — like the gun beside the body — had made police suspect suicide, former Garhwa legislator Girinath Singh cried murder.

Late on Wednesday night, his elder brother and Puja’s father Gorakshan Singh lodged a murder case with Nagri police. Apart from Puja’s husband Kunal Nath Shahdeo — who owns the gun that killed the young mother — Singh named five members of his family, including his parents, in the FIR.

According to the complaint lodged with police, ever since Puja married Kunal in 2008, she was tortured by her husband and in-laws for dowry. The torment allegedly reached its fatal limit on Wednesday afternoon.

Nagri officer-in-charge K.P. Yadav confirmed that the FIR had been registered under Section 302 of IPC and investigations had begun. However, no arrests have been made yet.

DSP (rural) Deepak Ambastha, who had stressed on suicide earlier, admitted that the case was taking “a serious turn” and that they were waiting for orders from seniors before acting against the influential Shahdeos. Kunal is known to be close to Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay.

“We are doing our bit of investigations with help from fingerprint and ballistic experts,” he reiterated.

No one from the accused family could be contacted for comments. Some neighbours claimed that Puja was alone at home when the gunshot was heard and, hence, it was a case of suicide. They, however, couldn’t say whether she was a victim of dowry and her suicide was abetted.

“A villager heard the firing. He informed Kunal’s aunt who stays close by. Puja’s three-year-old daughter and her in-laws were visiting a doctor in Hazaribagh, while Kunal was away at a dhaba. Besides, the door was locked from inside,” a resident close to the Shahdeos said.

Ambastha said it was too early to draw any conclusion.


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