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Woman Officer Shot Dead by Hotelier Had One Unarmed Cop for Security, Rest Had Moved On

The assistant town planner of Solan, Shailbala Sharma was shot dead by hotel owner Vijay Singh during a Supreme Court ordered demolition drive on Tuesday afternoon.

Anuradha Shukla | News18

Updated:May 2, 2018, 8:20 PM IST
Woman Officer Shot Dead by Hotelier Had One Unarmed Cop for Security, Rest Had Moved On
Assistant Town Planner Shail Bala Sharma was a day ago killed by Narayani guest house owner Vijay Thakur who allegedly fired at least three bullets at her.
Solan: “The situation is very tense… it’s going to be a tough day,” Shailbala Sharma, the assistant town planner of Solan, had told her husband as she set out to work on Tuesday. Little did she know that it would be her last conversation with her husband.

Sharma was shot dead by hotel owner Vijay Singh during a Supreme Court ordered demolition drive on Tuesday afternoon.

Angry and shocked, her grieving husband asked how he and his only son would survive without her. VP Sharma is the director in the National Research Centre of Mushrooms (NRCM) in Chamba Ghaat and their son is a doctor. “He should have shot me too...It was just the three of us,” an inconsolable VP Sharma said.

Although the shooting took place in the afternoon, there had been signs that the situation could get out of hand from the morning. Singh, 54, was ready with documents to prevent the demolition team from razing two floors of the guest house owned by his mother.

He kept arguing that the orders were wrong. “The orders are from above, don’t take it otherwise,” Shailbala told Vijay. The SC had ordered the demolition of unauthorised constructions, saying that the hotel owners were putting the lives of guests at risk in the landslide-prone area.

Feeling helpless, Vijay threatened to commit suicide around 9:30am if any part of the five-storey building was razed. The DSP present with the demolition team asked two constables to take Vijay to the police station, but for some reason, the order was not followed.

Vijay kept requesting the officers for more time with folded hands and he kept touching their feet. He accepted that construction of the basement and the top floor was illegal, but Shailbala was firm that the orders were to demolish the top two floors.

He alleged that the orders had been manipulated at the behest of some “influential persons”. His old mother and wife were by his side requesting that the floors not be demolished.

Finally, Vijay had relented, and soon, most of the officers comprising the demolition team went to the next spot, leaving just Shailbala, PWD officers and one unarmed SHO to vacate the building and demolish the illegal portions as per the orders.

When Shailbala and her team entered the reception area of the guest house, Vijay took a gun out of the bag in which he was carrying the papers and shot at Shailbala thrice. One bullet hit her in the head and two in the chest. She died on the spot.

A PWD employee was also injured. The accused exited from the main door onto the hill right in front of the guest house and vanished in the jungle.

The lone policeman there, the SHO, had tried to stop him, but Vijay was armed with a gun and the SHO had nothing. Only a few of the 50 policemen accompanying the demolition team even had lathis in their hands.

Vijay’s mother said her son had a bad temper and it was a tough task to keep him pacified and calm so his blood pressure won’t shoot up. That day too, his blood pressure was high, she said.

The murder has jolted the small hill station. Four police teams are on the lookout for the accused.

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| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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