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Bullets cut short a merry evening

- ‘None of us could sleep at night,’ recalls neighbour

The party hadn’t yet ended when orchestrated gunshots drowned the sound of merriment at Nildih Colony, an elite Jamshedpur neighbourhood. A blood-curdling shriek of a woman followed.

Kumar Koushalendra, an employee of Tata Cummins who was hosting his daughter’s 15th birthday, rushed out with his guests. What they saw was shocking and painful beyond imagination.

“My young, tall and handsome neighbour Brajesh had collapsed at the steering of his luxury car. His body was riddled with bullets. Here, I was expecting him at the party. And there, he was lying still bleeding,” Koushalendra, who lives just two blocks away at 16C Dalma Road, recalled with a shudder.

Just 40 and fabulous, Brajesh Sahay — the assistant general manager of TML Drivelines, a subsidiary of Tata Motors — was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on the threshold of his 18C Dalma Road bungalow around 9.30pm on Saturday.

The shriek the neighbours heard was that of his 35-year-old wife Sweta.

“We tried to bring him out of the car, but couldn’t. Somehow, we dragged him to the rear seat and I drove his car to Tata Motors Hospital in about 20 minutes. We couldn’t save him,” said A.K. Singh, an employee of TML Drivelines and Koushalendra’s relative.

Other guests left the birthday party in a state of shock. “None of us could sleep throughout the night,” Koushalendra said. “Brajesh had promised not to miss the party even if he was a little late,” the traumatised neighbour recalled.

What is paining the deceased executive’s friends is that he has left behind four-year-old son Shaurya who is still in playschool and barely realises what he has lost.

“The kid is staying with us since the incident. He was awake till 2am that night, playing games on a mobile phone,” said Koushalendra’s wife Seema, a schoolteacher. “I am still to come to terms with reality. I can’t believe he’s no more,” she added.

Gloom was perceptible in Nildih, where senior executives of several Tata Group companies stay, since morning. Sahay’s bungalow remained shut on Sunday because his widow had to be admitted to Tata Motors Hospital in a state of deep shock.

Two private guards were seen outside the house after DSP (city) K.N. Chaudhary inspected the murder site in the morning. Police are yet to record statements of family members.

In the evening, Brajesh Sahay’s body was brought to his residence, where neighbours paid floral tributes. Last rites were later performed on the banks of Subernarekha in Bhuiyandih. The funeral pyre was lit by Shaurya.

A neighbour, requesting anonymity, sought electronic surveillance in the area. “The tragedy should be an eye-opener for the district authorities and Tata Motors. We will approach the company and administration for installing CCTV cameras,” he said.