A police officer inspects the crime scene in Sonari on Monday night. Picture by Bhola Prasad
A 58-year-old bank employee, who dabbled modestly in real estate, seemed to have been savagely beaten to death in Jamshedpur late on Monday night, but going by the “nature of injuries” East Singhbhum SSP gave the media conflicting statements of murder and road accident.
According to bystanders who heard the commotion on a deserted stretch near a sewage tank in Sonari on Kadma-Sonari Road around 11.15pm, unknown assailants bludgeoned the victim with iron rods till he died. He was later identified as Ramesh Chandra Rout, senior accounts officer with Bank of India’s Adityapur branch, who had been biking home to Phase V, Sonari Adarshnagar Housing Complex.
Some bystanders, who ran to the spot hearing shouts and yelps of pain, claimed they saw some two or three youths fleeing. By then, Rout lay still, his jaws and teeth broken, countless injuries on his head and his face disfigured. Rout’s cellphone and wallet were missing, but wristwatch was intact.
His wife Kamala, alone at home, later said he did not wear any gold, ruling out a chain or ring-snatching attempt. Sonari police recovered an earring from the spot and suspect it belonged to one of the assailants.
Police took the body to MGM Medical College in Dimna for autopsy. Though they said this was a case of murder at the inquest, SSP Amol V. Homkar sounded confused.
“Unless we get a post-mortem report, we cannot say conclusively that this is murder. Injuries are similar to an accident. Teeth also get broken in a road mishap case,” he said. “Also, though his cellphone and wallet are missing, his wristwatch is intact,” he added.
But prodded about the case, he changed his statement. “During probe, some local people have claimed that soon after the commotion near the sewage tank died down, they had seen two youths fleeing the spot. We have identified them and will arrest them once we are convinced this is a case of murder,” Homkar said.
“My husband had gone to visit an ailing relative in Kadma and was returning home. He had gone to work like every day. Everything was normal. He had no enemies,” said the shocked widow, who added that they had two daughters, one married in Odisha and the other studying in Bangalore.
A resident, who did not want to be identified, said it was a case of murder. “It was past 11pm when I heard commotion on the road near the sewage tank, an isolated place. It appeared a group of persons was assaulting someone, but as the place was dark, I didn’t dare go. I heard about the death when the noise died down and police came 30 minutes later. It is murder,” the resident said.
East Singhbhum police are earning flak for their failure to crack recent cases, including the Tata shootings. They have also not been able to nab Chhota Baccha, allegedly responsible for shooting at the Kerala Public School student on Sunday night.
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