A horrifying murder case involving the mutilation of a caretaker priest, Manoj Kumar Sah, has sent shockwaves through Bihar’s Gopalganj district. The mutilated body of the victim was discovered earlier this week, sparking a complex investigation and political controversy. As the police apprehended three individuals, including the priest’s ex-girlfriend, claims and counter-claims have added layers of complexity to the already gruesome incident.
Contrary to media reports, the police have refuted allegations raised by family members of both the accused and the victim, dismissing them as baseless. Amidst the tumult, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has accused the police of diverting attention from the case by suggesting that the murder resulted from a love affair gone wrong.
The BJP’s claims gained momentum when party leaders visited the house of the alleged accused, the ex-girlfriend, and engaged in discussions with her family. According to Dainik Bhaskar, BJP leaders assert that the police are attempting to frame the incident as a consequence of a failed love affair. They claim to have recovered items used in the murder, including a knife, rope, cloth, and a broken mobile phone, supporting their narrative.
The police, however, present a different version of events. According to their investigation, the alleged accused ex-girlfriend, who is married, orchestrated the crime in retaliation for the priest’s threats to release an explicit video. The victim, Manoj Sah, was reportedly held captive for four days, deprived of food and water, before meeting a gruesome end with his eyes gouged out, and tongue and genitals severed.
While the police narrative suggests a motive rooted in a love affair, the victim’s family has raised suspicions against the Muslim community. The girl’s aunt, in an interview with ‘Dainik Bhaskar,’ made startling allegations, claiming that the police arrested the entire family and subjected them to torture and threats until they confessed to the crime. The family contends that the deceased, Manoj Sah, was like a son to them.
Former BJP Tourism Minister Ram Pravesh Singh further fueled the controversy, accusing the police administration of implicating innocent individuals. Singh argues that the police are attempting to downplay the case, asserting that Manoj Sah’s murder was orchestrated by people who opposed his religious activities, including performing puja and conducting yagyas in the Shiv temple.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Gopalganj, Singh questioned the police’s five-day delay in locating Manoj Sah after his disappearance on December 10. Singh shared a video of the accused ex-girlfriend’s aunt, who tearfully claimed that their wards gave false statements under police pressure. She alleged that the police tortured the accused to extract confessions and emphasised that their house was not a place where a dead body could be hidden.
BJP MLC Rajeev Singh echoed these sentiments, asserting that the police failed to arrest any individual named in the complaint filed by the deceased’s brother, Ashok Sah. Instead, the victim’s family has been arrested on charges of murder, with allegations of a love affair being used as a smokescreen.
Rajeev Singh pointed fingers at the zonal officials in Manjha, accusing them of complicity. He claimed that the Rajput community’s donated land for the temple had been encroached upon by members of the Muslim community, linking them to the murder.
In another twist, ‘Prabhat Khabar‘ reported uncertainties about who disposed of Manoj Sah’s body near Idgah. Neha Kumari, Sunita Devi, and Amit Kumar have been incarcerated, while the search continues for Neha’s husband Subhash Sah and cousin Sandeep Kumar.
Allegations against the police officer handling the case have led to concerns about impartiality. The BJP alleges that the accused police station officer has been appointed as the Investigating Officer (IO) and is overseeing the investigation. The Leader of Opposition Vijay Sinha is reportedly considering staging a protest in response to the controversy.
Providing background information, Ashok Sah, the deceased’s brother, highlighted the religious tensions in the area. He claimed that the Rajput community’s donated land for the temple was unlawfully taken over by individuals connected to former RJD MP Shahabuddin, alleging threats and harassment from the Muslim community.
DIG (Range) Vikas Sharma addressed the media to present the investigation results, claiming that Manoj Sah had an illicit relationship with the accused girl, leading to a love affair gone sour. According to the police, the victim had been blackmailing the girl, threatening to release compromising videos. In retaliation, the girl, with the help of her brother and others, took Manoj Sah hostage and ultimately murdered him.
Sharma dismissed rumors and false claims circulating in the media, stating that the forensic team would further investigate, and all evidence would be presented in court. The accused were identified through CCTV footage, confirming the case as a murder resulting from a love affair and blackmail.
Bajrang Dal activist Ranjit asserted that Hindu outfits would demand a fair investigation, uniting local BJP leaders in a joint call for justice. Ranjit claimed that the victim’s family had received threats from local Muslims, previously reported to authorities.
As the investigation unfolds, the gruesome murder of Manoj Kumar Sah continues to raise questions about the motives behind the crime, the integrity of the police investigation, and the broader communal tensions in Gopalganj. The quest for justice remains paramount as various stakeholders await the outcome of the ongoing probe.