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Mahoba businessman shot with his own pistol, says SIT

A businessman from Mahoba, who died a week after he was found with a bullet wound in the neck in his car, after he had accused an IPS officer of threatening to kill him, was shot with his own pistol and from close range, said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the case.

While the SIT report suggested that the businessman, Indrakant Tripathi, may have shot himself, the probe team reached the conclusion without interrogating the suspended IPS officer Mani Lal Patidar, who was named as an accused by the family of the businessman. Mr. Patidar, who was suspended as SP Mahoba on charges of corruption and extortion, has not been able to turn up for questioning as he was COVID-19 positive, his lawyer informed the SIT, said ADG Prayagraj Prem Prakash.

"He (Mr. Patidar) has been summoned. We also communicated with his headquarters to contact him. But neither he is taking calls nor is his location traced," Mr. Prakash told reporters on Friday.

On September 5, in a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and in a video shared on social media, Mr. Tripathi had alleged that the officer, Mr. Patidar, was threatening to kill him after he refused to pay him ₹6 lakh per month as extortion sum. Two days later, Mr. Tripathi was found in his luxury car with a bullet wound in his neck. He succumbed to the injury a week later. The Uttar Pradesh government then formed an SIT to probe the matter.

The police have said that the evidence collected in the case so far does not point to murder. However, the “circumstances in which the incident took place” are still being investigated, said Mr. Prakash. “From the investigation so far, it has become clear that he was shot from the front, the bullet was fired from inside the car and from close range,” the officer said.

Ballistic probe of the seven pistols recovered in the case — four of the accused persons, two of the businessman's partners and one belonging to the businessman himself — showed that he was shot with his own licensed pistol, said Mr. Prakash.

The bullet was found lodged in the seat of the car and the pistol was found lying between his feet, added the officer. The SIT did not find any evidence of any other person being at the spot. The investigation also indicated that Mr. Tripathi harboured a “feeling of deep insecurity” and was on the brink of a breakdown after a video showing him gambling went viral on September 8, said the officer. A gambling case had been filed at a local police station in August, and though it did not name Mr. Tripathi, his name was added to the FIR later.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 6:30:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mahoba-businessman-shot-with-his-own-pistol-says-sit/article32705578.ece

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