Patna, Oct. 24: A 50-year-old businessman was shot dead this evening at upscale Patliputra Colony, serving a jolt to the renewed confidence of the business fraternity in the state.
The businessman, Ramji Prasad Gupta, was the owner of the city-based B-Series Audio and Video Company. A resident of Jug Kailash Apartment on road number-3 of the Patliputra Colony, the assailants fired at him around 8.10pm.
Gupta was rushed to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), where doctors declared him brought dead. His body has been sent for post-mortem.
An officer of Patliputra police station said: “Gupta was a renowned businessman in the state. He returned to his apartment in the evening in his car and parked it in the parking lot. As he got out of the car and started walking towards the elevator, he was attacked.”
He said: “At present, we are in the dark on the number of assailants and their mode of transport. It seems two assailants came on a bike.”
The officer said: “A bullet hit the businessman in his head and he collapsed. His family members rushed him to PMCH with the help of some residents of the apartment.”
Gupta had five sons. All of them are in the business, the police said.
The police could not speak to the family members of Gupta in detail till the filing of this report.
A source said the police did not rule out the possibility of the killing of Gupta for extortion. “The victim was a respectable businessman. The angle of extortion cannot be ruled out completely. There can be some business rivalry too behind the murder. Investigations would be conducted on all possible angles. His family members would also be interrogated,” another officer said.
The death of Gupta came as a rude shock to the business community of the city, reviving the bitter memories of kidnapping and demands for extortion in the Lalu- Rabri era. The son of a leading industrialist was kidnapped from Patliputra Colony over a decade ago, forcing the family to leave the state. The family reportedly had to pay a huge ransom for his safe release.
A former president of the Bihar Industries Association was shot dead while he was returning from Fatuha.
A businessman, on the guarantee of anonymity, said: “A large number of traders and industrialists quit Bihar following threats and demands for extortion money during the RJD regime. After the NDA government came to power in 2005, the law and order situation improved considerably. We were able to keep our business establishments open for long hours and the threats for extortion money stopped coming. We all supported the Nitish Kumar-led government and were ready to expand our business. But this killing proves that things are not as safe as we had thought.”