PATNA: Criminals shot dead the lone witness of a triple murder case in Bihar’s southern Lakhisarai town in broad daylight on Tuesday, causing an atmosphere of fear in the area.
Police said Pawan Singh, 40, was fired at by three bike-borne men at close range at Karyanand Nagar area when he was standing outside his relative Jitendra Singh’s house. Hit by four bullets, he fell to the ground in a pool of blood as the assailants sped away on their bike. He was rushed to the Sadar Hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead.
“This murder prima facie seems linked to the triple murder at Pokhrama village last year. Raids are being conducted to nab the culprits and a probe is on,” said Lakhisarai DSP Pankaj Kumar.
Three members of Pawan Singh’s extended family were brutally shot dead at Pokhrama village under Kajra police station on August 4 last year. That massacre is believed to have been prompted by a dispute over the family’s land, said the DSP.
Pawan Singh was the informant and lone witness in the triple murder case and had been pursuing the ongoing trial in the case at the Lakhisaria district court. With his murder, the trial is likely to crumble and the accused may secure acquittal, said police sources.
While Kiran Singh, the alleged mastermind of the triple murder, was arrested, two other main accused have been on the run. Police believe Tuesday’s murder was perpetrated by them or by others at their behest.
Despite two top ministers in Bihar’s Nitish Kumar-led government having assured police protection to Pawan Singh after the triple murder, the district police were yet to take any steps. He was also not provided a gun license, said family sources.
Water resources minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh of JD(U), labour resources minister Vijay Kumar Sinha of BJP and JD(U) legislator Neeraj Kumar had visited Pokhrama a day after the triple murder and assured the family police protection.