A 60-year-old civil lawyer was found dead — a bullet in his forehead — in the house of his married daughter in Bundu, 45km from Ranchi district headquarters, on Tuesday morning.
Family members claimed they never heard a gunshot, even though Mohit Mahto slept in an adjoining room, prompting police to suspect insider role in the mysterious death.
“We were informed in the day. The family said Mahto went to sleep soon after dinner at 8.30pm last (Monday) night. They pleaded ignorance on the time of crime, saying no one heard anything. They claimed they found him in a pool of blood in the morning,” Bundu DSP Naushad Alam said, adding that the family’s statements raised doubts.
Sources in the police said that there were no other marks of injury on Mahto’s person, which means he did not resist or did not have a chance to resist his assailant or assailants. Also, nothing was burgled from the house or taken from his person. All these circumstantial evidences culminate in a single conclusion: the killer may have been an acquaintance and the motive family dispute.
Alam said an FIR had been lodged at Bundu police station and fingerprint experts summoned. The victim’s mobile phone has been seized for clues and the body sent for post-mortem to ascertain the time of murder.
Mahto, who practised in Bundu civil court, was originally a resident of Dimbudih village in Tamar, 20km from where he was killed. For the past two months, he had been living with his daughter, her husband, their children and her in-laws.
Daughter Anju Devi, a para-teacher at a government school, is apparently caught in a “bad marriage” with teacher Nandkishore of the same cradle. And, Mahto stayed with her for “moral support”.
Though police refrained from directly turning the needle of suspicion at Nandkishore, they did not rule out a possibility. “Local sources said she (Anju) did not have a good relationship with her husband. We are not reaching any conclusion, but we will probe this angle too,” an investigating officer said.
Since the house was under construction, security was lax. The victim had not locked his room from inside either. “But, it is difficult to believe no one heard a gunshot, especially Anju and her husband who were sleeping in the next room,” he said, adding that Mahto’s kin would be grilled and the case cracked soon.