Patna: The police today arrested four people in connection with the murders of two engineers of a private road building company who were shot dead in Bihar last week. Another engineer was found murdered in the state on Monday.
Ankit Jha was working as a quality engineer with Reliance Telecom. His body was found on Monday morning with his throat slit in Vaishali district, 60 km from capital Patna.
The killings are fast becoming a political issue with the opposition calling it "the return of the law of the jungle" in Bihar - a phrase used to describe incidents of lawlessness during the tenure of Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD from 1990 to 2005. The party is now part of the ruling coalition led by JDU's Nitish Kumar.
"Jungle Raj (lawlessness) is back in Bihar. In the run-up to Assembly polls, we were saying that there will be Jungle Raj-2 in Bihar if Nitish-Lalu combine wins the elections," Union Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan of the BJP-led alliance that lost the assembly elections in October and November said. "An engineer's body was found in Vaishali yesterday, two engineers were butchered in Darbhanga, prior to that a business man was shot in Muzzfarnagar, a Sarpanch was killed in my parliamentary constituency in broad day light," Union minister and BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
Rajiv Jha, brother of the Reliance engineer, said Mr Jha had left for work on Sunday night. "He left at night saying his company car was waiting outside. I thought it must be office work. When I tried to call him in the morning, both his phones were off. We then started looking for him but couldn't find him. Then we got a call from the police," he said.
In the Darbhanga murders, apart from today's arrests, a police official was suspended and the investigations handed over to a Special Task Force. The police suspects the two engineers who were killed on Saturday were targeted after the company they worked for failed to meet a ransom demand. Sources in the police have however ruled out extortion as the reason behind Mr Jha's murder.
Project engineers Brajesh Kumar and Mukesh Kumar were killed while they were supervising construction of a road at the Darbhanga-Kusheshwarsthan highway. The police had deployed personnel at the construction site after their company had received a ransom call. But the policemen were removed from the spot on Friday for local elections and were not present when the attack happened.