A small-time Ranchi transporter and father of three, reputed to be a police informer for anti-rebel operations in his native Latehar years ago, was fatally shot on a busy road 12km from the state capital on Tuesday morning. Singh took a bullet on his back and died at a private city hospital later in the afternoon.
Unconfirmed sources said that Singh might have been targeted for aiding anti-Maoist offensives in Balumath in the rebel stronghold of Latehar over a decade ago. Despite having settled in Ranchi in 2003 with wife Avanti, their two daughters, now aged 14 and 12, and a son, the transporter survived two attempts on his life in 2008 and 2015.
According to an eyewitness, Singh was shot at around 10.45am when he was seated in front of an auto-rickshaw, beside the driver, on his way home from Bajra. “Three men on a bike intercepted the auto and within a flash fired two rounds. One bullet hit the passenger in front on the back, below his left shoulder, while the other grazed the driver’s left knee. The second pillion-rider was the shooter. He was carrying small firearms in both hands. Two women passengers on the back seat remained unhurt. The bike then sped towards Ratu Road,” a passer-by present during the attack told The Telegraph on the condition of anonymity. Itki Road links the very busy Pandra market to Ratu Road and was teeming with commuters when Singh was shot at in the auto.
A local vegetable vendor, who also witnessed the shooting, said the assailants must have been in their mid-twenties. “The youth who was riding the bike was wearing a helmet, but his two pillion-riders had none. They fired on the auto and were gone within seconds, leaving two persons injured of whom one died later,” the vendor said. A police officer said both Singh and the driver, whose identity could not be ascertained, were rushed to a local hospital. The driver was released after first aid while Singh was referred to Guru Nanak Hospital & Research Centre on Ranchi station road. The transporter breathed his last at the private hospital around 3pm. Singh’s body has been sent to RIMS Bariatu for post-mortem.