PATNA: In a gruesome massacre, four volleyball players, including one who had played at the national level, were killed by a criminal gang in Bihar’s Khagaria district and their bodies were thrown into the river Ganga, police said on Sunday.
The criminal gang led by Pinku Jha first shot dead the four men, aged between 24 and 30, on the riverbank and then chopped their bodies into pieces, which they put in sacks and threw into the Ganga, said a police official investigating the case.
The bodies are yet to be retrieved despite search operations conducted in the river over the last two days.
Hundreds of people blocked a road in Naugachhia in neighbouring Bhagalpur district on Sunday in protest against the four murders and the failure of police to arrest Pinku Jha’s gang members who perpetrated the act.
The victims — Pradip Jha, 24, Shravan Chaudhary, 25, Saurav Kumar Rai, 26, and Chhotu Chaudhary, 30 – belonged to Naugachhia. Saurav Kumar Rai had participated in a national volleyball championship in the junior category, said an official.
The four players were invited by Pinku Jha to come to Khagaria to play in a local volleyball championship on November 13.
“They came by their motorbikes, wearing their volleyball T-shirts, and were put up at Akaha village under Parbatta police station area. They were made to drink alcohol at a party and, when drunk, taken to the riverbank and shot dead,” said a police official familiar with the ongoing investigation.
Sudhir Kumar, the SP of Naugachhia police district, said the motive behind the four murders appears to be Pinku Jha avenging his father’s murder some years ago.
“The youths killed were close to Ram Sangahi, a man Pinku Jha believes had killed his father. A probe is on, and raids are being conducted to fish out the bodies,” he added.