Police investigate the murder site at Bokaro Thermal on Monday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
A dubious Bokaro coal trader, who owed two of his fellow racketeers more than Rs 8 lakh, hired five contract killers for one-fourth the amount to have them shot dead and the bodies dumped 25km away in Hazaribagh.
Bokaro Thermal resident Shamshad Alam (32), however, could not make good his escape and was arrested within nine hours of executing his plan on Sunday evening. He has confessed to his involvement in the twin murders.
According to police, victims Hadis Ansari (35) and Matlu Ansari (40) — residents of Sadam and Jhirki in Bokaro’s Gomia block — were in the illegal coal business like Alam for many years.
They apparently acted as middlemen between Alam and coal smugglers in Bokaro and Hazaribagh. Alam bought coal from the duo and sold it to his clients.
However, for the past few months, Alam stopped paying for the coal he took from Hadis and Matlu. His outstandings rose to over Rs 8 lakh and the two traders started badgering him for the money.
Five days ago, they even threatened him with dire consequences. This angered Alam so much so that he hired contract killers for Rs 2 lakh.
On Friday, Alam called the duo and promised to make full payment at his Raja Bazar Tola residence in Bokaro Thermal on Sunday evening. He even invited the traders to dinner, saying he wanted to make up for all the bitterness in the past.
Around 5pm, Hadis and Matlu reached Bokaro Thermal. They were offered high tea and later dinner. Just when everything seemed perfect, five men appeared from nowhere and shot them point blank around 9pm. The two were also stabbed thereafter to ensure they were dead.
The bodies were loaded on the rear seat of Alam’s SUV, which left for Tatijharia, 25km away. Some of the contract killers also steered the hatchback in which Hadis and Matlu had arrived in order to douse suspicions. The bodies were dumped near Bani River in Tatijharia and the car later abandoned at Hazaribagh’s Old Bus Stand.
Alam’s SUV, which had bloodstains all over, was ferried to Gomia’s Lalpania, 15km from Bokaro Thermal.
Family members of Hadis and Matlu lodged complaints with Bokaro Thermal police and SP Kuldip Dwivedi when the traders didn’t come home past 11pm.
Since the duo were last seen near Alam’s house, police rounded up the trader before he could escape. Alam first tried to misguide investigations, saying Hadis and Matlu had left his home together and he had no clue where they went in their car.
When asked about his missing SUV, Alam even claimed it had been sent for servicing. But, as police mounted further pressure, he spilled the truth.
“The accused has confessed to the crime and how it was carried out. Hazaribagh police have found the bodies and the car of the victims. We are looking for the contract killers,” SP Dwivedi said.
Tatijharia OC Rameshwar Ram said the bodies had been sent to Hazaribagh Sadar Hospital for post-mortem.