Lucknow: A lawyer was shot dead inside a district civil court campus in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur Monday. The victim, identified as Bhupendra Pratap Singh, was allegedly shot dead with a country-made firearm — recovered by the police from near the body — on the third floor of the court.
Police have arrested fellow lawyer Suresh Gupta for the murder, allegedly based on the CCTV footage recovered from the court. According to the Shahjahanpur police, the victim and the accused were involved in a property dispute, and this old enmity is believed to be the motive behind the crime.
The murder, which took place a little before noon Monday, has taken on a political hue, as opposition parties have questioned the BJP government in the state over the law and order situation. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo and former CM Mayawati took to social media to criticise the incident.
“The legal and judicial fraternity is an integral pillar of our democracy. The brutal murder of an advocate in broad daylight in court premises in Shahjahanpur is another chilling reminder that no one is safe in today’s UP — not women, not farmers and now not advocates,” tweeted Priyanka Gandhi, the Congress’ UP in-charge.
Mayawati too expressed similar sentiments, writing, “The murder of a lawyer in the court premises of Shahjahanpur district of UP is very sad and shameful, which exposes the law and order situation in the BJP government here and the government’s claims in this regard. Now finally the question arises: Who is safe in UP? Government should pay proper attention to this.”
‘There was a loud bang, and he fell to the floor’
A lawyer who was present in court at the time of the crime, but did not wish to be named, claimed that “Bhupendra Singh was speaking to someone on campus, when suddenly there was a loud bang and he fell to the floor”.
The lawyer said, “We were in court, someone came and told us that a man has been shot; has been killed. When we came to see, we found the dead body and a country-made pistol near it… The man (Bhupendra Singh) had been practising as a lawyer for the past four-five years.”
Suresh Gupta was arrested by the police soon after the incident.
UP Police’s ADG (law & order) Prashant Kumar said in a written statement that the “Case has been worked on the basis of CCTV footage. Accused advocate arrested and accepted the crime. IG Range Bareilly is interrogating the accused. Old enmity is the cause of crime.”
Shahjahanpur SP S. Anand also issued a statement in the case, stating: “The accused was arrested after just a few minutes of the incident. The forensics team has collected the evidence from the incident spot. A post-mortem of the deceased will conducted by a panel of three doctors. According to prima facie evidence an old enmity between the victim and the accused, related to some property issues, led to the crime.”
A source in Shahjahanpur police told ThePrint that “the accused knew Bhupendra Singh for the past five-six years. They had beaten each other up earlier too and had both filed cases against each other in a property dispute. So, old enmity was the cause of crime.”
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)