Guwahati, July 16: An engineer missing since Saturday was found murdered today just outside the perimeter of the army cantonment at Narengi in Guwahati.
If murder in a high-security zone were not enough embarrassment for the army, one of the five persons arrested for killing Ajay Deka, a junior engineer with the public works department, turned out to be a lance naik.
The arrested persons confessed to committing the crime in quarter number 176 of the army’s 51 Sub Area at Narengi. The quarter is in the name of lance naik Akon Kumar Das, who was an Ulfa militant before surrendering and getting a job in the army.
Senior army officials were at a loss to explain how a man could be forcibly taken to the high-security cantonment and murdered there without anybody coming to know about it.
Deka was found with his legs and hands tied and mouth gagged. The police believe that he was murdered on Saturday night itself, hours after he stepped out of home in his Wagon-R.
The trigger for the murder was apparently a financial dispute between the victim and one of the alleged killers, Rintu Choudhury.
The police said Rintu owed Rs 6 lakh to the victim and was refusing to return the amount. “On Saturday, Deka called Rintu and demanded that he return the money by the evening. Rintu called Deka in the evening and asked him to meet him at Pathar Quarry to collect the money. When Deka reached the appointed place around 6pm, he was bundled into a car and taken to the army cantonment. He was strangulated and hit on the head,” a member of the investigation team said.
Rintu committed the crime with the assistance of his brother Jintu, Akon, Amar Thapa and surrendered Ulfa militants Anil Sarania and Subhash Roy. They dumped the engineer’s body just outside the fence of the cantonment.
Akon was arrested in the city, while the other four were traced to Pathsala in Barpeta district. Roy was absconding till late tonight.
Rintu is suspected of being part of a jobs-for-cash racket. “He would promise jobs in the railways for about Rs 6 lakh per candidate. Deka paid him the money some months ago to get a railway job for one of his acquaintances. They fell out when Jintu could neither fix the job or return the money,” a source said.
The police handed Deka’s body to his family this afternoon after post-mortem at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
There was no clue to Deka’s disappearance until the police found his Wagon-R abandoned at Six Mile last evening. Investigators initially thought he had been abducted for ransom.