Rupesh Kumar Singh, the 38-year-old station manager of IndiGo airlines at the Patna airport, was shot dead by a fresher in crime for road rage, according to the senior superintendent (SSP) of Patna Police, Upendra Kumar Sharma.
Sharma claimed that the Patna police has arrested an young man, Rituraj, who had fired six rounds on Rupesh, killing the Indigo staffer on the spot outside his residence on January 12 evening.
“The two riders — Rupesh on his SUV and Rituraj on his motor cycle — had clashed on November 29 last at Sardar Patel Chawk near the Patna airport. Rituraj took revenge on January 12,” the police have said.
The cops produced Rituraj, a Geography honours from New Delhi and a former employee of a bank at Jaipur before the media. It has been alleged that since Rituraj was assaulted by Rupesh, the former decided to kill him and attempted to do so four times before committing the actual murder.
Rituraj comes from a prosperous family at Ghosi in Jahanabad district and his father has a series of brick kilns at Naubatpur on the outskirts of Patna.
Rituraj has no criminal antecedents, never went to jail, nor had he ever been arrested by the police in the past, according to the SSP. He said that Rituraj had a hobby of keeping pistols and stealing four to five motorcycles every month.
“He had committed the crime by going to Rupesh’s apartment on a motorcycle stolen from Darbhanga, 200 km from Patna,” the SSP said.
The police claimed that authorities were able to nab Rituraj only after trekking 100 km, examining 200 CCTVs and 4000 call detail records of mobile sets and conducting technical analysis on 600 GB of data.
The SSP clarified: “We did not cook up the ‘theory’ of road rage in such a sensational crime. It was not a contract killing either”.
According to Rituraj, after firing an “unknown number of bullets” on the victim, he went to his house at Kanhainagar in southern Patna and slept off. The next day, he purchased four local newspapers and only after reading the reports did he come to know about the VIP status of Rupesh Kumar Singh. Immediately, he left for Ranchi and visited Deoghar and Patratu as well.
Rituraj told mediapersons: “Whatever saheb [referring to the SSP] has said is 100% true.”
Rituraj said that he frequently went through television news reports and scoured newspapers to follow the progress of the police investigation in the case.
Three of his associates are yet to be arrested.
The Police recovered the pistol, the motorcycle and the clothes used by Rituraj at the time of crime. Authorities have also recovered four unused bullets, according to the SSP.
The Bihar Police had constituted four different teams comprising the Patna Police, the Special Investigation Team (SIT), the Special Task Force (STF), and the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to investigate the high-profile murder in the VIP area, close to the state secretariat where the chief minister resides.
Chief Minister,Nitish Kumar was personally monitoring the investigation of the case and had summoned the Director general of police (DG), S K Singhal, twice to know the status of probe.
Ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs), and senior IAS officers had also visited Rupesh Kumar Singh’s village in the Saran district.
Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, senior leaders, former president of the Pradesh Congress committee Ramjatan Sinha, former ministers Ms Veena Sahi, Ajit Kumar, and Suresh Sharma had also gone to the village. Even the chairman-cum-managing director of Indigo met Rupesh’s family in the village.