A youth was killed and four others were injured when SUV-borne criminals opened fire and subsequently tried to run them over on the premises of the state Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown at Old Bazaar Samiti in Patna City on Sunday.
While the manager of the godown, Krishna Kumar Thakur, has been admitted to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), three others injured — Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Prasad and Kanchan Kumar — are undergoing treatment at Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH). The condition of 58-year-old Thakur was said to be critical.
Narad (22), a resident of Gamrahighat under the jurisdiction of Malsalami police station, died on the spot.
Eyewitnesses said a group of six persons, equipped with firearms, reached the godown in a white SUV around 1pm. The group, led by one Manilal Yadav, knocked down the manager and three others while they were engaged in some work outside the building.
The criminals opened fire and hurled bombs to create panic. They, thereafter, escaped on the same vehicle without any resistance. Surprisingly, the police deployed at an outpost located around 100 yards from the FCI godown, remained ignorant of the incident for about an hour.
Thakur, Ashok, Kanchan and Rajendra were immediately rushed to the NMCH, from where doctors referred the manager to the PMCH for better treatment.
Station house officer of the Malsalami police station, Bhagwan Lal Gupta, described the incident a result of a dispute over money between Rajendra and his brother in-law Manilal, both labourer suppliers. They had a heated exchange of words on the issue a fortnight ago, he added.
The SHO added that the manager had nothing to do with the ongoing tussle between the two contractors. “But he (Thakur) agreed to play the role of an arbitrator to settle the issue between the two rivals,” Gupta said, adding that Rajendra was waiting for Manilal at the godown.
Gupta said the victims were knocked down by the SUV with an intention to kill them on the spot.
“The police have circumstantial evidence to substantiate the victims’ claims that they were run over by the vehicle with the motive to kill them,” the SHO said.
He added that intensive raids were conducted at different hideouts of Manilal to arrest him and his associates. Gupta said the driver of the manager, Hriday Narayan, would be interrogated to get details of the incident. Narayan was present at the site.
Narrating the horror, Narayan said: “Manager sahib was talking to four-five people outside the building. I was standing at a stone’s throw distance. Suddenly a Scorpio arrived and knocked them down. The people inside the vehicle tried to kill them. A few of the occupants were carrying weapons in their hands,” he said.
Narayan reportedly fled the spot after the vehicle hit the manager and others.
“For a while I could not understand what was going on. I had to take refuge in a corner of the building to protect myself from the attackers, who were armed with weapons,” he added.
A resident of the area, Rabhvir, said the criminals opened fire and hurled bombs too. Narad died after he was hit with bullets, he said, adding that he was rushed to the NMCH but the doctors declared him “brought dead”.