Four people were arrested on Thursday for allegedly murdering the leader of right-wing outfit Vishwa Hindu Mahasabha in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow city, PTI reported, citing police officials. Ranjeet Bachchan was shot dead when he was out for a walk around 5.30 am on Sunday near the state’s legislature complex.
Those arrested were Smriti Srivastava, who is Bachchan’s second wife, her friend Deependra Kumar, Sanjeet Gautam, a driver, and the shooter Jeetendra. Gautam and Jeetendra are cousins, according to Hindustan Times.
Police suspect the murder was the result of a fallout between Bachchan and his wife. The right-wing leader allegedly married Srivastava without telling her that he was already married to someone else. The two got separated in 2016 when she came to know about the first marriage and his relationships with other women. The two have a four-year-old child.
Srivastava and Kumar wanted to get married, said Lucknow Commissioner of Police Sujeet Pandey. The woman told the police that Bachchan was delaying their divorce case by not appearing for the proceedings.
“On January 17, Bachchan visited Srivastava and tried to force her to celebrate their marriage anniversary on January 18,” said Pandey. “When she refused, Bachchan assaulted her. After the assault, Srivastava and Kumar hatched a conspiracy to kill Bachchan and recruited Kumar’s driver Sanjit Gautam and cousin Jeetendra.”
Kumar and Jeetendra followed Bachchan till Globe Park in Lucknow, where they shot him. Following this, the two went to Rae Bareli separately. “We arrested Sanjeet Gautam from Lucknow, Deependra has been arrested from Uttar Pradesh-Madhya Pradesh border and Smriti too has been arrested from Vikasnagar (in Lucknow),” the police commissioner said.
Twelve teams were formed to trace down the accused. The Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force arrested the shooter on Thursday from Mumbai. “During his interrogation, police found that he had allegedly fired at the Hindu outfit leader,” an unidentified official told PTI. “Based on the information provided by him, police have also detained two more persons in connection with the case.”