Hazaribagh: Unidentified assailants armed with AK 47 fired more than 40 rounds on Lakhan Sao, husband of Hazaribagh Zila Parishad chairperson Sushila Devi, and his driver Dharmendra Singh near Sardar Chowk in Hazaribagh on Tuesday. The victims who bled profusely were taken to Medical Hospital in Ranchi in critical condition.
Sources said the assailants opened fire on the victims, who were reportedly in an SUV, near Imli Chowk, injuring them seriously.
Police see the incident as a gangwar between Lakhan Sao and Sushil Srivastava gang. Prior to this incident, former deputy Mayor Neeraj Singh was gunned down in Dhanbad by assailants in a similarly shocking crime.
The incident took place on Barakagaon-Hazaribagh highway around 11 am when Sao and his driver were returning to Hazaribagh from Barkagaon. The assailants, who were apparently waiting for them, suddenly appeared on the main road from a bush and started firing indiscriminately from close range shooting their targets several times. Assured of having hit the targets, they escaped on a two-wheeler.
Police found more than 30 rounds of used cartridges and an AK 47 lying on the road. They suspect the shooters had information about the whereabouts and movements of Lakhan Sao who also has criminal antecedents. Sao had reportedly worked for Sushil Srivastav gang. He later left the gang and got his wife elected as the chairperson of the Zila Parishad.
Hazaribagh SP Anup Birthare said the police had sealed all exit and entry points of the district and were conducting raids to nab the criminals. He said the assailants had arrived at the crime scene on a Bolero. The vehicle was recovered from the scene after the incident.
The DC of Hazaribagh Ravi Shankar Shukla said the incident prima facie appeared to be a gangwar. He said Section 144 had been clamped in the city as a precautionary measure. He appealed to people not to pay heed to rumours.
Soon after the incident, IG operations Ashish Batra led a company of Rapid Action Force with an additional force of 250 armed cops and a team of Forensic Science Laboratory to Hazaribagh.
Local MLA Manish Jaisawal reached Sadar Hospital to see the victims. Union Minister and MP Jayant Sinha talked to the DC and SP and sought updates on the incident. He directed the administration to take measures to control crimes in the district.