The prime accused in the 2015 Hazaribagh court shootout, in which a gangster and his aides were killed, was arrested here and he was formerly with the army, police said on Sunday. Avtar Singh, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district, was hired by the conspirators of the crime for his sharp-shooting skills. He took voluntary retirement from the army after carrying out the shootout at the district court in Jharkhand, they said.
He has been handed over to the state’s police for further investigation, police here said. Gangster Sushil Srivastava along with two of his aides was shot dead at the Hazaribagh court premises in June 2015. Three others, including a policeman and a lawyer, were injured in the incident. The shootout took place when they were coming out of the Hazaribagh district court where they had been brought from a jail to attend court hearings. “The Jammu police identified, traced and arrested the prime accused (Singh) of the 2015 Hazaribagh court shootout incident," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Jammu, Chandan Kohli, said.
“The accused was hired by members of a rival gang for his sharp-shooting skills and was paid a hefty amount to carry out the attack along with one more sharp shooter, he said. The officer said that the accused had taken voluntary retirement from the army after carrying out the shootout on the court premises. Acting on specific information a few days back, the SSP said, an operation was launched in the R S Pura area on the outskirts of Jammu.
Singh, a resident of Udhampur district, was intercepted for his suspicious identity and a bullet mark on his foot, Kohli said. “During questioning, he initially shared no valuable information, but on sustained questioning, he started to spill the beans, and confessed that he was involved in Hazaribagh court shootout case where he had received a bullet injury but managed to hide his identity even during police investigation, he said.
Kohli said the questioning of the accused revealed that in 2015, he was serving with the army. Singh said it was then some people approached him and offered a hefty amount to eliminate Srivastava, the SSP said. He said after this, they hatched a conspiracy and planned the shootout which was carried out on court complex with an AK assault rifle.
The accused suffered a bullet injury in 2015 in retaliatory police firing while he was escaping the scene. Singh succeeded to keep his identity hidden from everyone, the SSP said. After this shootout, he was paid a hefty amount by the people who hatched the conspiracy of this incident. Later, he took voluntary retirement from army services and was living a life away from everyone’s eyes, till the Jammu police found some information and managed to trace and arrest him, the officer said. Kohli said the other accused in the case is yet to be arrested.
The Jharkhand Police was informed about the arrest and a team reached Jammu and took his custody. He is now being taken to Jharkhand for further legal formalities and continuation of investigation of the case, the SSP said.