Three petty criminals shot dead a sub-inspector of police on Monday night when he gave them chase through a paddy field at Khulni village.
Avinash Kumar, a 2009 batch officer, was out on patrol duty around 9 in the night when he was shot dead from close range in the face at Khulni in Shakund block, around 27km south of Bhagalpur. Police caught two men around 1am on Tuesday.
Although sources claimed Maoists were involved in the incident, senior officers rejected the possibility.
Forty-six-year-old Avinash, originally from Nauagari in Munger district and posted at Shakund police station, was out patrolling on Monday night with four more constables. Around 9pm, when the party reached Panchrukhi village, it heard a commotion in the market. Villagers told the officers that three criminals with firearms were threatening a chicken shop owner. When the trio saw the police officers approaching, they ran towards Khulni village through paddy fields.
Eyewitnesses said Avinash asked the driver of the police vehicle to give the criminals chase. Near Muslimtola, the police team had to alight from the vehicle as the men had gone towards Khulni embankment. Avinash rushed towards the criminals and caught one of them. But taking advantage of the darkness, another shot him dead and rescued his accomplice. Avinash was shot in the face, above his nose.
Although 10 rounds of fire were exchanged between the constables and the criminals, the latter escaped into the darkness.
Deputy inspector-general of police, Bhagalpur zone, Sanjay Singh visited Shakund police station on Tuesday morning and ruled out the possibility that the incident was the handiwork of Maoists.
He said: “The police have managed to catch two persons, including Tarani Mandal, a resident of Khulni village, late in the night. Massive combing operations have been initiated in the area to arrest the others involved.”
Officers at Police Lines gave Avinash a guard of honour on Tuesday before handing over the body to the family members. He is survived by his wife, three-year-old son, aged mother (a cancer patient) and a younger brother.