The arrested trio at SSP Amol V Homkar’s office on Wednesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
City banker Ramesh Chandra Rout was fatally bludgeoned with iron rods with the intention to rob him two nights ago, police said on Wednesday following the arrest of three slum youths, only one of them having criminal antecedents.
Manglu Lohar (25), who was earlier arrested in connection with a petty theft, and his aides Mangal Machhua (28) and Kalia Machhua (22) were picked up from their Janata Basti homes in Sonari after police tracked the deceased BOI-Adityapur official’s stolen mobile phone that the trio had sold for Rs 300 to a woman labourer. The rods used to kill Rout were also recovered from their possession.
Conceding, finally, that the 58-year-old senior accounts officer had been murdered for cash and valuables, East Singhbhum SSP Amol V. Homkar, who had thrown up a road accident theory on Tuesday, ruled out a conspiracy angle.
“The gang of three was drunk and looking for a target they could strip of money. That is when they saw their victim coming on a bike from the Kadma end. The trio intercepted Rout and started hitting him with the rods. He died on the spot,” the SSP said.
The assailants took Rout’s phone and wallet, which contained three ATM cards, a driving licence and Rs 600. Surprisingly, they left behind his wristwatch.
According to Homkar, the mobile phone handset was sold to a woman labourer who led police to the trio. “A task force was formed to nab the culprits after the phone number of the murder victim was put under surveillance. The team tracked the woman who named the three during interrogation,” he said.
Rout, who was a resident of Adarshnagar Housing Complex in Sonari and also dabbled in real estate, was found in a pool of blood near a sewage tank along a road linking Kadma to Sonari around 11.15pm on Monday.
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. Police sent the body to MGM Medical College in Dimna for autopsy. The report is awaited.
In a desperate bid to allay fears of such sudden attacks, Homkar said people should not believe in hearsay and trust police who were everywhere.
Incidentally, on Tuesday night, rumours were rife in Sonari that a gang had intercepted a trader and robbed him. A police patrol rushed to the neighbourhood, but soon realised that it had been sent on a wild goose chase.