A friend’s invitation for a cuppa at a stall 30m away from his home in the Indrapuri area proved fatal for a property dealer on Wednesday morning as he was shot dead by four bike-borne persons at the kiosk.
The victim — 37-year-old Birju Rai — was declared brought dead at Patna Medical College and Hospital. His assailants and the friend who invited him for tea fled the spot, barely 300m away from Raja Pul Chowk and under Patliputra police station.
On Sunday afternoon, an FCI manager (passed away on Monday) and a youth died following a shootout in Patna City. Birju’s killing — the second daylight murder in the city within a week — has triggered posers on policing.
Peeved over Birju’s murder, some residents of the area indulged in violence. They thrashed some passers-by and pelted stones at vehicles.
Birju — a father of three daughters — used to lend his three autorickshaws to drivers on rent besides dealing in real estate. The Patliputra police said his murder was meticulously planned and his friend — Santosh Gope — was used to trap him.
An officer said: “Santosh, a resident of the Dujra area near Patliputra, went near Birju’s house and called him on his cellphone. The victim’s wife said Birju went out of the house soon after, around 8am. The duo walked up to the makeshift tea stall near the entrance of the lane in front of Birju’s house. It seems the motive of the assailants was to bring Birju out of the narrow lane so that they could escape easily after committing the crime.”
The victim and his friend reached the stall within three minutes and started sipping tea. Within a couple of minutes, four persons on two motorbikes surfaced near the stall. Two among them fired at Birju only from two 9mm pistols. Santosh fled the scene taking advantage of the commotion.
“Five bullets hit Birju and he slumped to the ground. The assailants fired in the air to scare the bystanders and fled towards the Patliputra area,” the officer said.
Birju was a well-known person in his locality. The residents of the area rushed him to Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in an autorickshaw. But he was pronounced dead by doctors. His body has been sent for post-mortem.
The family members of the victim have lodged an FIR against four persons, including Santosh. All of them were at large till the filing of this report. The police said raids were being conducted to arrest them.
The cops were clueless about the reason behind Birju’s murder. “It can be a fallout of business rivalry or his association with crime earlier,” the officer added.
According to the police, Birju had criminal antecedents. “A couple of months ago, he was released from jail. He was involved in a kidnapping case,” said another officer of Patliputra police station.
The victim’s kin contradicted the police claim. “A long time back, he committed some petty offences. But after marriage, he concentrated on his business only. The allegation of the police is a ploy hide their weakness,” Subodh, a nephew of the victim, told The Telegraph.