Patna, July 21: The middle-aged woman who had been thrashed and stripped by a group of people in Jehanabad last week disappeared in mysterious circumstances from Patna Medical College and Hospital this morning, sending police officers into a tizzy.
The woman, Sangeeta Devi, in her 40s, her minor daughter and an acquaintance Munna Sharma were undergoing treatment at the premier hospital under police custody. Sangeeta escaped a few hours before she was to be taken on police remand for interrogation in connection with the murder of two youths — Chunnu Sharma and Rakesh Kumar.
Seven policemen, including two sub-inspectors, one assistant sub-inspector and four constables deployed at the hospital to keep surveillance on the woman, who was charged with kidnapping and hatching the conspiracy of the murder of two youths, were put under suspension.
Jehanabad superintendent of police Aditya Kumar said the seven cops were suspended on the charge of “dereliction of duty”.
“The role of the policemen deployed to keep watch on the woman is also being verified. Stern action will be taken against them if found guilty of connivance,” he said.
Sources said the matter came to the fore around 7am when Sangeeta and her 14-year-old daughter did not return to the ward from the washroom. The cops searched them in the ward (Rajendra Surgical Ward) where she was shifted from the emergency ward but in vain. She was admitted to Vimal Mukesh’s unit and allotted bed No. 3.
The Pirbahore police station house officer, Nishar Ahmed, said an FIR had been lodged on the statement of Jehanabad sub-inspector Kusum Bharti.
Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj said all the police stations in the southern parts of the district have been put on maximum alert and instructions issued to carry out intensive vehicle checking on important roads leading to Jehanabad.
Maharaaj said footage of the CCTV installed at the hospital has been sought from the authorities. Sources said the woman and her daughter have been spotted escaping the ward around 6.15am. “It seems that somebody may have been waiting outside the ward in a vehicle to take them away,” an investigating officer said.
PMCH superintendent Lakhendra Prasad said the woman was about to be discharged from the hospital in the next few days as no internal head injury was found in the CT-scan.
What is intriguing is that the woman had apprehended a threat to her life from the people who had brutally assaulted her and stripped in full public view. “Both the woman and her daughter had told the police that they were being stalked by the same people, who were involved in the barbaric act at Nijamuddinchak on the fateful night,” one of Sangeeta’s close relatives said.
He claimed that both the mother and the daughter might have been kidnapped from the hospital premises. “She had suffered grievous injuries and was not in a condition to move. She used to attend the call of nature with the help of her daughter, who accompanied her even in the washroom,” said her relative, who did not wish to be named.
Jehanabad superintendent of police Aditya Kumar said all the police stations in the district have been put on alert.