Hate, lies and triple murder

For years, Davesh Kumar, 31, alias Rintu, had viewed his stepmother as an intruder in the family. He is now the prime suspect in her murder along with that of two of her daughters in Patna last week. Other than dislike, property is suspected to be an immediate motive.

Since the triple murder their heads were smashed in with a hammer Rintu is believed to have fled to Toronto, leaving the very day he reportedly confessed to his father.

Rintu ran a business in Delhi while his father lived in Patna with his second wife Alina, 45, and their daughters Sonali and Purnima, 19 and 11.

On November 14, the day of the triple murder, Rintu reportedly took the precaution of drawing his father away from the house. Gopal Sharan Singh, the father, is a retired government official. He has told the police his son, visiting Patna, had invited him over to Delhi to see his newborn son. Rintu asked his father not to inform Alina that he would travel to Delhi but to tell her instead that he was going to the family's ancestral home at Katihar. Gopal Sharan Singh spent the day at a neighbour's house before leaving for Delhi with his son, he has told the police.

"Rintu kept his father's mobile with him, on the pretext of needing a local connection while in Patna," said Patna deputy inspector general Sunil Kumar, who is supervising the probe. "Rintu went back to his home around noon and first killed Alina, hitting her repeatedly on the head with a hammer."

The DIG said Alina was alone and Rintu would have easily overpowered her. Yet police suspect at least one person helped Rintu in the killing. Of his stepsisters, first Purnima returned from school and then Sonali from college. Only one neighbour heard a single shriek during the entire period, but he assumed it was something trivial.

Police said Rintu left by a side gate, reached the railway station and boarded the Rajdhani Express with his father. In Delhi, his father tried to talk to Alina and his daughters. When he got no response, he asked a relative to go to the house. When the relative broke the news about the murders, Gopal Sharan Singh said, his son overheard the conversation and confessed that he had killed the three.

"Had his father informed the police earlier, we might have been able to prevent the escape," an officer said.

Gopal Sharan Singh is now back in Patna. "I want the death sentence for my son," he said. "No father can imagine his son can stoop to such a level." Rintu had often quarreled with Alina but never crossed the line, he has told the police. "He was so full of poison for my second wife and her daughters."

He has told the police that of late, his son had given him the impression that his relations with his stepmother and stepsisters were improving. Rintu had visited Patna in November too, stayed at his father's house, and appeared to be getting along well with his stepmother.

"What I have learnt from questioning family members is that Rintu has felt alienated since his father married Alina. Rintu was very young then," the DIG said.

He said the immediate motive was a property dispute. Rintu had wanted the Patna property in his name but Alina had resisted that and kept the property papers with herself. The single-storey house spans 2,200 square feet and its market price is estimated at over Rs 50 lakh. Rintu wanted to sell the house and invest in the realty business he had started in Delhi.

Rintu has a younger brother who too lives in Delhi, but he is said to have kept out of property matters. Alina's eldest daughter, Kalina, is married. Alina had been looking for a groom for her second daughter.

A Patna police team reached Delhi on December 15 and learnt from Rintu's wife that he had fled to Canada that very day. He has been to Canada before and has contacts there. Patna SP Amrit Raj said Rintu had planned ahead and got a visa ready.

Police have sought the Centre's help and are confident Rintu cannot stay in Canada very long. "We have got his visa and passport details and also the numbers of his Canada acquaintances," the DIG said. "Once the information reaches the Canadian establishment, it will be tough for Rintu to stay there."

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