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Robbery and murder jolt

Patna, Dec. 30: A midnight murder and daylight robbery in the city today within a span of 14 hours exposed the deteriorating law and order situation in the state on the penultimate day of the year.

The Sunday midnight murder victim was Rajeev Singh, (40), a close associate of controversial JD(U) MLA from Mokama Anant Kumar Singh. He was shot dead by four armed persons in the upscale Anandpuri locality just after he reportedly returned from the house of the legislator.

The daylight robbery victim was Saran resident Raju Singh. Criminals pounced on him and snatched Rs 7 lakh near Gandhi Maidan around 2pm soon after he came out of Indian Bank (at Biscomaun building) withdrawing the money.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaj said the members of the notorious Kora gang, mainly operating in Katihar and its adjoining districts, were suspected to be involved in the daylight robbery. The two back-to-back crimes in the heart of the city have posed a serious threat to the law-enforcing agency before the New Year. Police could not make any significant breakthrough in either of the cases till the filing of the report.

Sources said Rajeev, the murder victim, had been facing charges of murder, attempt to murder and abduction. The assailants fired at him from 9mm pistols and carbines when he was returning to his flat (No. 302) at Shiv Jishnu Enclave in the Anandpuri locality under the jurisdiction of SK Puri police station.

The assailants attacked Rajeev, a native of Nadma village in Patna rural as MLA Singh, on the second floor of the building. The sources said at least 12 bullets were fired to eliminate Rajeev. The police said only seven bullets had hit him.

A source claimed that the assailants were hiding in a flat in the same apartment. The flat (No. 201), owned by one Praveeen Sinha, was rented out earlier this month to one Sudhir Kumar, who had introduced himself as an employee of a pharmaceutical company. Four persons had been living in the flat, Sushil Srivastava, the security guard of the apartment, told the police.

He said the assailants threatened him with dire consequences when he refused to open the main gate after the murder. “They scaled the 5ft boundary wall and escaped,” he told the police.

The guard said: “Rajeev was attacked in front of the flat No. 201. It seems the assailants were hiding in that flat because no outsider had entered the apartment before the incident.”

Bhola Singh alias Bholi and Mukesh, two former accomplices of MLA Singh, have been named as accused in the complaint. Sources said the duo started envying Rajeev after the legislator allegedly gave the latter undue preference.

SSP Manu Maharaj said: “Raids have been launched to arrest the criminals.”