A gaping hole at victim Rai’s house shows curious bystanders waiting for his body to arrive in Ranchi on Thursday.
Picture by Hardeep Singh
Three neighbours were arrested on Thursday, a day after the sensational killing of a retired army personnel in the heart of the state capital.
Keshwar Rai (50) was shot during an altercation with the neighbours on Wednesday evening after a minor dispute over cleaning of a drain at Road No. 4 of Madhukam locality in Sukhdeonagar area.
Tempers ran high on Thursday. Around 200 police personnel had to be deployed in the neighbourhood and 20 more outside RIMS, where Rai’s body was kept, to pacify his relatives and friends.
However, while returning with the body around 3.30pm, his friends fought a pitched battle with the police at Kishoreganj Chowk, after blocking Harmu Bypass.
They pelted stones at Kotwali DSP Deepak Ambastha’s jeep and damaged several other police vehicles too.
According to Kotwali OC Arvind Kumar, the police resorted to lathicharge and fired six rounds in the air. He also claimed that someone from the mob opened fire too. “Luckily, no one sustained any serious injury,” Kumar added.
SSP Saket Kumar Singh and SP (city) Manoj Ratan kept a close watch on the situation throughout the day. Both were unavailable for comment.
It all started on Wednesday.
“Civic workers had come to clean the drain in front of Rai’s house around 2pm. His son Ravichandra stopped them form working. This triggered a verbal altercation between him and neighbour Abhishek Choudhary. Ravichandra assaulted Choudhary,” a local resident, not willing to be named, claimed.
Choudhary reported the matter to Sukhdeonagar police who heard out both parties, but refused to take any action against Ravichandra. This infuriated Choudhary who, accompanied by his associates, barged into the Rai residence.
The ex-armyman took out his licensed double barrel gun for safety, but instead took a bullet in his chest. Rai was declared dead around 10pm at RIMS.
Choudhary, Rupesh Vishwakarma and Neeraj Choudhary have been arrested. The police have registered a case of murder against them and Ritesh Vishwakarma, Chotu Sinha and 100 other unidentified local residents.
Choudhary and his associates claimed Rai shot himself accidentally. But the police were not buying it as of now.
Sukhdeonagar OC Ashok Kumar Ram said a post-mortem would confirm whether Rai died of injuries sustained from his own gun. “The gun has been seized. At present, we are treating it as a murder case,” he added.
Sushil Rai, a relative of the deceased, however, alleged that the police were at fault. “They are showing their proactiveness after the crime has been committed,” he claimed.