|A forensic team looks for clues at the murder site and (above) Kanti Devi consoles husband Shashibhushan on Friday. Pictures by Suman
Police have made little headway in the case of five girls of a joint family murdered in Sonas village early on Thursday.
“The fact that six of the seven named accused, including Shambhu Sharan Singh and five members from Naveen Singh’s family, have absconded makes our job difficult,” said an investigating police officer.
However, sources revealed that the post-mortem report, which is yet to be handed over to the police, indicates that the girls were shot from point-blank range.
The forensic team inspected the girls’ house on Thursday and Friday. “We have collected blood samples and found two bullets and one pellet today (Friday),” a forensic official told The Telegraph.
On Thursday, police found a pellet from the house, while doctors found a bullet from the body of one of the girls.
Lust for land and revenge are being cited as two probable reasons behind the crime. The needle of suspicion hints at Shambhu Singh, the immediate provocation being Bipin Singh beating up Shambhu’s wife, Chanchal Devi, on December 4.
Kishori, his wife, sons Naveen, Anand and Abhimanyu, and Naveen’s wife have all been named in the FIR lodged by Shashibhushan, Bipin’s eldest brother and father of one of the girls killed.
According to Pavittar Narayan Singh, Shambhu once owned around seven bighas of land. Later, he started selling it in chunks and was left with around 1.5 bighas, the most recent sales being to Bipin Singh and Kishori Singh, Naveen Singh’s father. Around 12 years ago, Bipin and Naveen had bought nine cottahs and eight cottahs respectively from Shambhu. Again, around four years ago, his family purchased two plots of four and three decimals from Shambhu. The three-decimal plot is situated in front of Naveen’s house. Bharatbhushan alleged on Friday that Naveen allegedly occupied the plot. Besides, Shambhu mortgaged a six-cottah plot to Pavittar’s family for only Rs 10,000.
Since Bipin got the 43-decimal plot registered in his name on October 19, the tension between the two families rose. Naveen, who had been eyeing it for long, allegedly threatened Shashibhushan, Bharatbhushan and Bipin that he would implicate their father or uncle in a false case.
On the other hand, Shambhu’s wife, Chanchal Devi, had submitted an application to the Nimchak Bathani sub-divisional officer (SDO)-cum-land registrar of Khisersarai, Ashok Kumar, stating the nature of the 43-decimal plot as residential. But the registry had been made under the agriculture plot category. The SDO also visited the village twice, the second being on December 4 to inspect of the nature of land.
Pavittar’s family members alleged that Chanchal had submitted the false application under Naveen’s provocation. To solve the issue, Bipin, Chanchal and fellow villagers sat together in Khisersarai on December 4 but in futile. Sources said Bipin allegedly beat up Chanchal later in the day. Chanchal went to Khisersarai police station to lodge a case but could not. Thereafter, she went to Magadh Medical College police station to lodge the case. Her case was not accepted there too.
On Friday, The Telegraph visited Kishori’s house and found octogenarian Saraswati Devi, the mother-in-law of his eldest daughter there guarding the house. Saraswati could not say much in the issue.
Gaya senior superintendent of police Nishant Kumar Tiwari said investigations are on from all angles.