Two mango traders in Bhagalpur were shot at and critically injured early on Sunday morning when five assailants opened fire at them.
Gopal Sah (47) and Sonvarshi Devi (65), residents of Sanhaila and Habibpur respectively, were rushed to a local government hospital after the attack. Gopal's condition is critical, doctors said, and Sonvarshi is under treatment.
Gopal and Sonvarshi were on their way to the local bazaar samiti at Bagwari in an autorickshaw around 5.30am, police said, when the criminals intercepted the vehicle at gunpoint and attempted to loot money from the mango traders.
Sonvarshi told the police that five assailants fired at Gopal from close range. A stray bullet hit Sonvarshi, who was sitting besides Gopal, in the waist.
The police have not yet ascertained if the criminals fled with Gopal's money but Sonvarshi has told the cops that she did not lose any money.
Bhagalpur senior superintendent of police Manoj Kumar said the two traders ferried mangos from the wholesale market at the bazaar samiti (marketing board) and sold them in the open market.
"Prima facie it appears that the motive of the criminals was to kill Gopal. However, stealing the money could be another reason behind the murderous attack on the mango traders," Manoj told The Telegraph.
Gopal has been operated upon and the bullets have been removed, said a police officer posted at Babarganj police station under whose jurisdiction the attack site falls.