Policemen inspect the car belonging to Ratnesh Raj (right) after he was shot at in Jamshedpur on Monday night. Picture by Bhola Prasad nExecution link in exec murders, Metro 7
Jamshedpur, March 11: A young Tata Steel executive was shot at and grievously injured in an elite neighbourhood of Jamshedpur last night, barely a fortnight after an assistant manager of a group company was gunned down in eerily similar fashion.
Manager in the company’s equipment maintenance department, 28-year-old Ratnesh Raj was targeted with three bullets while he was getting off his car in front of a friend’s apartment in Ghorabandha, near Telco, around 10pm, a stone’s throw from former chief minister Arjun Munda’s residence.
The shooting, which has deepened the shock of the Brajesh Sahay murder, may be the handiwork of the same killers who were hired to terminate the TML Drivelines’ assistant general manager on February 23.
There are three reasons why police suspect common involvement. One, use of identical and professional weapon — a 7.65-calibre pistol — in both cases. Two, the modus operandi: the executives were caught unawares at the steering wheel. Third, multiple-round firing — Sahay had taken four bullets, Raj three — to ensure maximum damage if not casualty.
Anand Kumar, the dentist friend of Raj — a bachelor who lived at P-Type flats near Tube Makers Club in Nildih — was supposed to meet, said the Tata Steel executive called him around 9.30pm to say he was coming to his place. “Half an hour later, I heard gunshots and rushed downstairs to find Ratnesh bleeding. We rushed him to Tata Motors Hospital.”
Doctors on emergency duty admitted Raj to the critical care unit. On Tuesday afternoon, he was taken to Tata Main Hospital.
A doctor, who attended to the executive at Tata Motors Hospital, said one bullet had gone through the victim’s right chest, while another was still trapped in his lower abdomen. A third, which was lodged in the shoulder, has been removed. “Though the condition of the patient is stable, the pellet trapped in the abdomen is causing blood loss and posing threat,” he added.
East Singhbhum SSP Amol V. Homkar, city SP Karthik S. and city DSP K.N. Chowdhury inspected the crime site last night. Preliminary probe reveal that the number of assailants were two on a bike. They fired at Raj from a distance of around 10ft. The bullets went through the windscreen of the car.
“We are yet to lay our hands on any clue. We are doing a background check on Ratnesh Raj to ascertain whether he had enemies — professional or personal. The victim’s statement is also of utmost importance in this case. We are waiting for him to recuperate,” said Homkar.
Karthik and Chowdhury visited Raj’s flat today and searched his belongings for clues. They have seized a mobile phone to study call details. “We found the key to the fourth-floor flat in the victim’s car. But, we did not find clues in the house,” Chowdhury said, adding that they would quiz Raj’s relatives who were on their way to the city from Patna, Bihar.
Residents of P-Type flats said the Tata Steel executive had a cordial relationship with his neighbours. “We were not close friends, but he was a nice guy,” said Alankar Devangi, a neighbour and also an employee of Tata Steel.
Another neighbour, who requested anonymity, said Raj was a former employee of Telcon, a subsidiary of Tata Motors, before he joined the steel major three years ago.
People of Ghorabandha expressed their fears. “How can we feel safe if someone is shot near a former CM’s house, which is barely 300 metres away and where there are police guards?” said S.S. Tiwary, a local resident.