Simla: A hotel owner who shot dead a government official supervising the demolition of illegal structures at his guest house in Himachal Pradesh's Kasauli was arrested last evening. Vijay Singh has reportedly told the police that he shot the official, Shail Bala Sharma, because she refused to back down and accept bribe.
- Shail Bala, 51, was chased and shot dead by hotel owner Vijay Singh
- She was leading a demolition team out to follow top court's order
- After killing her, Vijay Singh ran away. He was arrested on Thursday
Sources say Vijay Singh said he pleaded with Shail Bala, the assistant town planner of Kasauli, to spare his building but "she refused to settle (accept hush money)" and "was behaving like an ideal officer".
He also resented that his mother "touched the officer's feet" and begged, but she didn't budge saying she had orders from the Supreme Court.
Shail Bala Sharma, 51, was chased and shot dead by Vijay Singh on Tuesday. One of the bullets fired by Singh also hit another officer.
The officer died instantly. After killing her, Vijay Singh ran away and hid in the jungle for hours, the police say. He then returned home at night, picked up his ATM and Aadhaar cards and headed to Delhi by bus.
After a two-day hunt, the police found him in a temple at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. To throw cops off his trail, he had shaved his moustache and trimmed his hair. He also changed locations frequently and used strangers' phones for calls.
Shail Bala Sharma was leading a demolition team that was acting on a Supreme Court order on April 17 to raze illegal extensions in several hotels and guest houses in Kasauli and other Himachal towns popular with tourists in the summer.
Calling the incident "extremely serious", the court said it was clear that there was "absolutely no regard" for the rule of law. "We might stop passing any orders if you are going to kill people," judges Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.
"These businessmen think they will construct illegal structures first and if there is a demolition, they will just kill the officers."
The court also questioned why around 160 policemen could do nothing to protect the officer or catch the killer.
"What were they doing? Watching her get killed? How did he flee," the court asked.