Lucknow Constable guns down murder convict’s son at hospital, surrenders

Officials said the constable told them that he down convict Dhruv Kumar’s 34-year-old son Praveen Singh as some recent arguments between them had turned physical, and he feared for his life.

A Sitapur police constable deployed to guard a murder convict in a Lucknow hospital shot dead the prisoner’s son on Wednesday evening outside the medical facility’s gate with an illegal countrymade pistol, officials said. Ashish Mishra surrendered to the local station after the incident.

Officials said the constable told them that he down convict Dhruv Kumar’s 34-year-old son Praveen Singh as some recent arguments between them had turned physical, and he feared for his life. However, based on the information received so far, the police are not convinced by the claim and believe Mishra is either mentally unstable because of some family problems or trying to fool investigators.

Sitapur district police officials said Dhruv Kumar was awarded the life sentence on April 16 in a 1997 murder case. He was admitted to RML Hospital for prostate cancer treatment.

“Dhruv Kumar is admitted at RML Hospital for treatment. Constable Ashish Mishra had been deployed on his security detail since May 25. Today, on Wednesday, during the security duty, he shot dead the son of Dhruv Kumar using an illegal countrymade pistol. He himself later surrendered at the Vibhuti Khand police station. The reason given by Mishra for the killing isn’t very convincing. He is saying that he felt threatened by Dhruv’s son as he was continuously causing trouble for him and feared for his life. It looks like either the constable isn’t mentally sound or is trying to fool us,” Lucknow Police Commissioner DK Thakur told the media.

Senior police officials here said the constable killed Singh around 6 pm. No one saw any altercation between the two, they added. DK Thakur said he had talked to the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Sitapur to understand Mishra’s background, including his family condition and mental condition.

The constable, according to officials, is from Badaun and was recruited in 2016. Since September 2017, he was at the Sitapur police line. Sources in the police said Mishra got married two months ago, and suspected his wife of having an extramarital affair. His sister recently informed a police official in Hardoi that he was not of sound mind and had suicidal tendencies.

When the information was passed on to the Lucknow police, he was made to submit his service rifle at the Vibhuti Khand police station, said a senior official here.

Asked if the department had any information about Mishra’s alleged suicidal tendencies, Sitapur SP Rakesh Pratap Singh told The Indian Express that the constable’s sister did not inform any “responsible person” in Sitapur about his condition.

“There was never any incident that can show that he was not of sound mind. We have talked to his friends in the police, his colleagues and his batchmates never saw anything out of order. There was never any case of missing attendance or indiscipline or drinking,” Singh said.

The SP added, “As far as the information about his rifle is concerned, four policemen, including a head constable and three constables, with two rifles were deployed for the [convict’s] security. At a time, two of the policemen are armed, and he [Mishra] was not one of them. The information about permanently depositing a rifle is not true.”

A senior Lucknow Police official said so far investigators believe that Praveen Singh was a random target and was killed without any specific reason. Though the police have not yet recovered the murder weapon, Mishra has reportedly given up the location where he hid it. The police said Singh’s family members were on their way to the capital and an FIR would be registered after their arrival.

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