The husband of Riya Kumari, the woman who was shot inside a car on National Highway 16 in Howrah district on Wednesday morning, has been arrested on the charge of murder.
Police took Prakash Kumar into custody after the woman’s family lodged a complaint against him with Howrah police.
Prakash had said he had stepped out of the car to urinate when a few men shot his wife.
“Prakash Kumar has been arrested based on the complaint of the victim’s family and the circumstances. We are probing further details,” said superintendent of police (Howrah Rural) Swati Bhangalia.
According to the complaint by Riya’s family, Prakash was allegedly subjecting Riya to mental and physical torture.
In the complaint letter, Riya’s elder brother Ajay Rana has alleged Prakash was hand-in-glove with his first wife Shradhha Devi in killing Riya.
“My sister had been married to this man for the last 15 years. Since her marriage, her husband and in-laws had been torturing her for dowry. With time, the level of torture kept increasing and she was also threatened that she would be killed if she did not leave her husband,” Rana alleged.
Riya, the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old child, has acted in tele-serials and featured in music videos uploaded on YouTube with her screen name Isha Alya.
She, her husband and child were coming to Kolkata to purchase costumes from a shopping arcade in New Market on Wednesday when she was shot.
Rana said: “I strongly believe that my sister’s husband and her in-laws hatched a conspiracy to kill her and have then disposed of evidence by providing false information to screen the real offender.”
An officer attached to the probe, who did not wish to be named, said unlike the claims made by the husband, about the heist attempt on his wife, the police have not found any evidence that pointed towards an attempted robbery.
“Why would someone open fire if he or she wanted to rob only someone’s wallet? The gunshot on the victim’s temple is indicative that it was not fired in self-defence or while fleeing. Rather it was a targeted shot, fired from point-blank range,” said the officer.
The police said that till Thursday evening, they had not come across any witnesses who had seen the shooting or any white car escaping from the spot.
According to Riya’s husband’s version, he had stepped out of the car for a few minutes to urinate when a few men opened fire on his wife and fled in a white car. He has purportedly told the police that they were trying to snatch his wallet, which his wife had resisted.
“There are multiple discrepancies in his statement. We will question him in our custody,” said the officer.
Prakash was produced before the court on Thursday and sent to police remand.