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Junagadh bank correspondent murder: Son of village sarpanch held

While police have questioned more than half-a-dozen-persons in connection with the murder and robbery, this is the first arrest so far in the case.

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The Junagadh police on Sunday claimed to have cracked the alleged murder of a banking correspondent of HDFC Bank by arresting the son of a man who was recently elected sarpanch of a village in Keshod taluka of the district unopposed, and also recovered Rs 2.30 lakh of the Rs 9 lakh that the victim had been robbed off.

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Keshod police in Junagadh arrested one Karan Sutreja (20), a resident of Sutrej village of Keshod taluka of Junagadh on Saturday afternoon. Before formally arresting him, police had picked Sutreja up for questioning. While police have questioned more than half-a-dozen-persons in connection with the murder and robbery, this is the first arrest so far in the case.

“Based on call detail records, we summoned Sutreja for questioning. After finding evidence against him, we arrested him formally. He was one of the three robbers who killed the banking correspondent by stabbing him to death before running away with Rs 9 lakh cash that the victim was carrying,” Keshod police inspector Ashok Tilwa told The Indian Express on Sunday.

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Police said that Sutreja was the son of a farmer who was elected sarpanch of Sujrej village uncontested. “His father Hathiya Sutreja was elected sarpanch of his village uncontested a few days ago. No election was held in the village and the panchayat was declared samras, with the villagers selecting Hathiya as the village sarpanch,” Tiwla, the investigating officer of the case said.

Rajesh alias Raj Jilariya (32), a banking correspondent of Keshod branch of HDFC Bank was allegedly stabbed to death in Magharwada village of Keshod on Thursday afternoon by three robbers. According to police, Jilariya, who was also the team leader of BCs (banking correspondents)for Keshod and Manavadar taluka of Junagadh had offered to help convert demonetised currency notes into valid currency notes at 20 per cent premium. Through a middleman identified by police as one Bhikhu Somnani of Maliya taluka of Junagadh, Jilariya had struck a deal with some persons for arranging valid currency notes of Rs 9 lakh value in lieu of Rs 10.8 lakh worth of recently scrapped currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination. However, after meeting him at pre-decided place in Magharwada, his “customers” did not pay him old notes and instead tried to snatch away his bag containing Rs 9 lakh cash by threatening him with an air gun and a knife. When the banking correspondent resisted, one of the three robbers stabbed him in chest and the trio managed to run away with the cash.

After the alleged murder, Jilraliya’s cousin brother Kishor, who was also present in Maghwarwada when the banking correspondent was attacked had filed a complaint with Keshod police. Based on his complaint, police had booked unidentified men for murder and robbery. Jilariya was a resident of Jonpur village of Keshod and his cousin Kishor is also a BC of HDFC Bank. HDFC Bank has said that the victim and the complainant were employees of a private firm which had been hired by the bank for extending banking services in rural areas.

On Sunday, police said Sutreja was one of the three robbers who assaulted and murdered Jilariya. “During primary questioning, he has confessed that he was one of the three men who attacked Jilariya on Thursday. He has also confessed that that the trio had hatched a conspiracy to rob Jilariya of cash at any cost and that they never intended to pay the BC old notes plus premium in exchange. Sutreja says that he got Rs 3.8 lakh out of the Rs 9 lakh that they had robbed. We have recovered Rs 2.3 lakh from him. Efforts are on to recover the balance amount,” Tilwa further said.

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Keshod police said that they had identified the remaining two robbers also but withheld their names. Meanwhile, Sutreja was produced before a local magistrate in Keshod on Sunday afternoon. Granting plea of police, the magistrate sent Sutreja in police custody for three days.

First published on: 19-12-2016 at 03:05:46 am
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