PATNA: The head of the criminal gang that brutally killed four volleyball players in Khagaria district last week was arrested late on Thursday night, police said on Saturday.
Pinku Jha, who had been evading arrest since the murder of the four players on November 14, was captured by the special investigation team (SIT) when he was hiding in the house of an arms smuggler in a village in Munger district.
The SIT managed to nab Jha within hours after the in-charge of Bihupur police station, Ram Vachan Singh, was placed under suspension and all the 21 cops posted there were transferred by DIG (eastern range) Vikas Vaibhav. The cops, who were found to be having close links with Jha and his gang members, had helped Jha evade arrest despite SIT conducting raids, said an official.
Jha told the investigators that he ordered the killing of the four volleyball players because he suspected them of having agreed to perpetrate his murder. He had invited the four men to Khagaria to play in a local volleyball championship on November 13. After they came, they were made to drink alcohol at a party and, when drunk, were taken to the riverbank and shot dead by Jha and his gang members.
The bodies of the four victims – Pradip Jha, 24, Shravan Chaudhary, 25, Saurav Kumar Rai, 26, and Chhotu Chaudhary, 30 – were chopped into pieces, put in sacks and thrown into the Ganga. The bodies are yet to be retrieved despite several search operations in the river.
One of the victims, Saurav Kumar Rai, had participated in a national volleyball championship in the junior category, said an official.
“The main accused, Pinku Jha, has admitted the crime of brutally killing the four men and throwing the bodies into the Ganga. His descriptions also match with that of a man arrested earlier,” said DIG Vikas Vaibhav.