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Cop killers at large, raids on

- Former village head prime suspect

Police remained in the dark about the whereabouts of the assailants of sub-inspector Anil Kumar on Thursday, a day after he was killed.

The cop, along with his former colleague’s son, was murdered inside the Jurawanpur police station in Vaishali. The role of former panchayat head Srikant Rai has come under the scanner of the police following the killing of Kumar (40), the station house officer (SHO) of Jurawanpur police station, and his former colleague’s son Sudhir Singh.

Rai is considered close to a ruling party MLA from Vaishali district. His wife Sunita Devi is the present head of Jurawanpur Barari panchayat.

The SHO was shot dead with a licensed rifle allotted to the former panchayat head on the police station premises in the presence of a number of policemen. An Insas rifle is also missing from the police station after the incident.

Preliminary investigation revealed that Rai, along with his supporters, arrived at the police station in a sports utility vehicle around 7pm on Wednesday. Sudhir, the son of retired dafadar Shivpujan Singh, came soon after.

Rai and Sudhir had an altercation over some issue. When Kumar intervened, Rai allegedly fired from his licensed rifle, causing grievous injuries to three persons.

Kumar and Sudhir succumbed to their injuries. The third victim, Nepali Singh, is undergoing treatment at Patna Medical College and Hospital.

Inspector-general (Tirhut zone) Pankaj Darad said he had asked the Vaishali superintendent of police, Suresh Prasad Choudhary, to find out under what circumstances the former mukhiya was allowed to enter the police station with firearms. Choudhary said: “A special team headed by an additional superintendent of police has been formed to apprehend the accused.”

The SHO was killed in a shootout between two rival groups, he said, adding that the statement of some cops deployed at the police station had been recorded to ascertain the truth.

Kumar, a native of Madhepura district, was posted at the police station about a year ago. He is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters. They stay at Bhagalpur.

Sudhir’s father Shivpujan Singh, a retired dafadar (a village-level government employee assigned to co-ordinate between the residents and government officials), said he rushed to the police station after hearing the gunshots. He saw Rai fleeing with his supporters from the police station.

The BJP national vice-president, Dr C.P. Thakur, termed the killing of the officer “the revival of jungle raj” in Bihar. Demanding the resignation of Nitish government, He said: “This incident has not only exposed Nitish’s much-hyped susashan (good governance), but also established the fact that law and order has collapsed completely in Bihar.”

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