Two brothers were arrested on Monday in connection with the April 30 murder of a hardware shop owner over a payment dispute at Kanke in the state capital.
Sudhir Kumar (45) and Santosh Kumar (40) were rounded up from a place near Birla Maidan in Sukhdeonagar police station area around 3am while they were getting ready to flee the city, thus taking the total number of arrests in the case so far to five.
But police found nothing in their possession, not even mobile phones.
SP (rural) S.K. Jha, who presented the two before the media, said: “With these two arrests, the Kanke murder case has been almost solved. Both the brothers are civil contractors and were named as accused in the murder FIR. They were about to leave the city when they were arrested on the basis of a tip-off.”
Sudhir, however, pleaded innocence, saying that he had no hand in the death of Shashi Kumar, alias Pappu (28).
“On that day, Pappu had targeted my house with a mob carrying firearms. Someone from the crowd opened fire and a bullet hit Pappu accidentally and he died,” Sudhir, his face covered with a towel, said.
Sources, however, said that Pappu was shot dead after a dispute arose over his father being treated rudely by the accused.
“Pappu, who had a hardware shop at Kanke Block Chowk, had given items worth Rs 10,500 to Sudhir, a contractor, for construction of his house 10 days ago. Around 11.30am on April 30, when Pappu’s father Upendra Prasad (52) went to collect the money, Sudhir gave him a cheque of Rs 7,500. When Upendra objected, Sudhir misbehaved with him,” said a police officer.
After coming back to the shop, Upendra complained to his son, who went to confront Sudhir along with a relative, Bineet Kumar, alias Bholu, around 12.30pm.
While Pappu and Sudhir were busy arguing, the latter’s younger brother, Santosh, allegedly opened fire from the rooftop of their double-storeyed house.
While Pappu took a bullet on the left side of his chest, Bholu was hit near his throat.
Local residents, who rushed out on hearing the sound of firing, took the two to RIMS, where Pappu was declared brought dead. Bholu was admitted for treatment.
As news about the murder spread, Pappu’s friends and relatives stormed the brothers’ residence and set the house on fire besides damaging other property. The brothers managed to escape with their families.
In the evening, the mob started agitating in front of Kanke police station with Pappu’s body. They set a vehicle of Ashutosh Singh, a friend of the main accused, on fire besides abusing Kanke OC Anand Kumar Singh.
Later, three FIRs were registered in connection with the case. Pappu’s father lodged a murder FIR, while police registered an FIR against the local residents for talking law in their hands. Sudhir’s wife filed the third FIR for the attack on their house.
Apart from Sudhir and Santosh, three of their friends were earlier arrested. No one has been apprehended in connection with the other FIRs.