Murder in high-security zone punches holes in patrolling claim

Residents of R-Block were shocked early on Tuesday when three armed criminals barged into the house of an under-secretary level official in the planning and development department, Sanjeev Kumar, with the intention of looting and ended up killing him when he resisted.

By Roshan Kumar in Patna
  • Published 15.08.18
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Patna: Residents of R-Block were shocked early on Tuesday when three armed criminals barged into the house of an under-secretary level official in the planning and development department, Sanjeev Kumar, with the intention of looting and ended up killing him when he resisted.

The incident occurred in a protected area that houses the quarters of government employees, MLAs and even some ministers. The crime scene is located less than half a kilometre from the Sachhiwalaya police station and within a kilometre from the Bihar legislative building. Also, it is equidistant from the imposing Patna High Court building.

The incident has exposed tall claims made by Patna police and questions are being raised on how criminals can feel emboldened enough to commit murder and get away scott-free.

Residents claimed that in the past few months, cases of theft and robbery have gone up because of the number of slums coming up in the area. The demolition of old MLA flats in R-Block area, where a government duplex bungalow is coming up, has also given anti-social elements space to hide in after committing criminal activities.

"In the past few months, we have witnessed a spurt in cases of theft incidents in the area. And this is mainly happening because of the number of slums coming up in the area," said Sanjay Kumar, a resident of R-Block road number 2. "Cases of thefts from houses or household items kept in the courtyard has become a regular feature, but Tuesday's incident was particularly shocking."

Echoing Sanjay, another resident of the area, Pravin Chandra, said: "Though the area is considered to be a VIP area, there is hardly any police patrolling taking place at night in the area. Occasionally, police patrol teams make a round in the area in the evening (around 9-10 pm), but there is no patrolling late at night or early in the morning, when criminals strike the most."

Also, there is no police picket or boundary in the area that would make residents feel safer. The residents' claims of no night patrolling in the area assume importance as Patna police claim to have seven different types of patrolling squad in Patna.

These patrolling squads work round-the-clock to check crime. The seven patrolling squads are Dolphin mobile van, day and night patrolling squad, night patrolling, police foot patrolling, bike patrolling, cycle patrolling and anti-race squad. Sources said that leaving aside day and night patrolling squad, most of the patrolling teams move in the night.

But residents claimed that leaving aside patrolling by van, they have never seen any other patrolling team.

The crime took place on Tuesday when Patna police were busy making elaborate security arrangements and conducting raids at hotels and lodges and checking vehicles as part of Independence Day celebrations.

Patna police on Tuesday evening took action and suspended nine police personnel. Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj suspended the SHO of Sachivalay police station, Rakesh Kumar Bhaskar, sub-inspector Anant Kumar and seven police personnel from the patrolling squad. Deputy superintendent of police (Sachivalay) Rajesh Singh Prabhakar said: "The police have found some leads in the case. We have gone through the feed of CCTV cameras installed in the area and based on it raids are being conducted at different places."