DH News Service
Pics: Rons Bantwal
Mumbai, Oct 29: A day after the encounter killing of an armed Patna youth, who had hijacked a Mumbai municipal bus and held passengers hostage at gunpoint, the Maharashtra government ordered an inquiry into the incident on Tuesday.
The probe would be conducted by state chief secretaryJohney Joseph and the witnesses desirous of recording their statements have been asked to submit their names by Friday, according to an official announcement.
The killing of the 25-year-old youth hailing from Patna, Rahul Raj, has already evoked strong reactions from Bihar leaders, and the reported statement by deputy chief minister R R Patil justifying what he called “bullet for bullet” response of the Mumbai police has added fuel to the fire.
The Centre sought a report from the state government about the incident and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too has taken up the matter with Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Rahul Raj had boarded the municipal BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport undertaking) bus at Sakinaka at around 10 am. Midway he hijacked the double-decker bus in Bailbazaar area brandishing a pistol. The youth caught conductor Mahendra Dhule by his neck and thrust the gun at him.
Rahul, who was on the upper deck, then started screaming that he did not want to hurt anyone but only kill Raj Thackeray. To terrorise passengers, he fired four rounds, one of which hit a passenger, Manoj Bhagar, in his left thigh.
Shivaji Borade, the conductor in the lower deck of the bus, then alerted the police at the nearby police chowki. Meanwhile, the youth managed to hold around 15-20 passengers hostage. He then used currency notes to pass on his message to the police that he wanted to kill Raj Thackeray.
The police fired at him to immobilise him, after he refused to surrender. One bullet reportedly pierced his head, another his chest, and he collapsed. He was rushed to Rajawadi municipal hospital where he was declared dead.
According to additional commissioner of police (central region) Sadanand Date, a keychain of Hotel Imperial and a photo ID card of a Patna institute were found on his person. Rahul had checked into the two-star hotel at Andheri early on October 26. Inquiries revealed that he was a diploma holder in X-ray technology.