Jamshedpur, June 19: Chanda “Dolly” Rao chased the hitmen who shot at her husband and made a neighbour drive the bleeding Tata Steel officer to hospital. By evening, she was still by the bedside of the former basketball player but under police detention.
An act of crime with an explosive mix of a murder plot and an extramarital affair unfolded in the Steel City this morning when Tata Steel official and former basketball player P. Ratna Rao was shot at in front of his house in what the police said was the fallout of an affair between his wife and a neighbour.
Rao, shot behind his right ear lobe, has been operated upon at the Tata Main Hospital and a bullet was extricated. His condition is said to be critical.
The 42-year-old Rao, who had been in the national basketball team a couple of times, was preparing to get into his car parked in front of his house at Sitaramdera, in the heart of Jamshedpur, when he was shot at almost point blank. Rao is the manager (administration) of the Tata Steel sports department.
The assailants, said to be three youths, escaped and Rao was taken to hospital by his wife, Chanda, and a neighbour.
East Singhbhum superintendent of police Arun Kumar Oraon said Rao’s wife and a neighbour, Shiv Narayan Yadav alias Chotku, were having an affair for the past two-and-a-half years.
Yadav has been arrested while the status of Chanda — a nurse who was beside her husband’s bed in the hospital till nightfall — is being described as “under detention”.
The police said Yadav and Chanda had hatched a plot to eliminate Rao by hiring criminals for Rs 50,000, of which Rs 32,000 had already been paid in cheque. The police did not explain why the unusual mode was chosen to pay the hitmen.
Two of the three assailants have been identified by Yadav, who has an electrical goods shop.
“Yadav has confessed. Yadav, who got married about six months ago, has said he was under strong pressure from Chanda for a perfect end to their affair. Such was the pressure from her that Yadav had tried to commit suicide by slashing his veins,” Oraon said.
“Rao’s wife had planned to elope with Yadav after the plot was successfully executed,” the police officer added. Oraon said the police were tipped off about the affair by someone close to the Rao family.
The attack occurred around 8.45 am when Rao was about to leave for office. A youth approached him with a piece of paper, asking for directions to the address scribbled on it.
While Rao was trying to read, another youth came up from behind and shot him. The youths fled on a motorcycle kept ready by a third accomplice.
Witnesses claimed that Rao’s wife, who was standing near the gate, chased the youths for some distance. She then requested neighbour Chintu Singh to drive Rao to hospital. But the police termed her action “a show”.