A cop came but, according to Babli, shed some light on the matter. He asked Ladla and Sahil – another resident of the street adjacent to Jama Masjid who had joined Ladla at that time – to leave the terrace and thought about the matter. Ladla left while making death threats against Sunny in the presence of the police, according to the family.
Babli further says that Ladla was soon seen with half a dozen men near their house, hurling abuse and throwing rocks at them.
It was his nephew Manoj who reached the crowd first, in order to stop them. Ladla allegedly swung his knife which hit Manoj directly in the chest. He started bleeding. Sunny tried to grab Ladla’s wrist, but Ladla aimed directly at Sunny’s chest and stabbed him with several knives, said Sumit, an eyewitness to the murder.
Babli broke down several times while recounting the incident which devastated the family. She also revealed that the family took out a loan of Rs 15 lakh to renovate the house ahead of her daughter’s wedding last year.
It was Sunny who was repaying the loan in installments. The family depended on him. From his job at Ujjvan Small Finance Bank in Purnea, he reportedly earns around Rs 30,000 per month. However, he often worked overtime to earn that much.
Sunny was single. A few months ago, he took a sabbatical from his job at the bank to prepare for a government job.
Babli says that none of the family members knew Ladla and his group, although the men might know their faces. The area is about 10% Muslim who, according to Babli, live near the Jama Masjid.
swarajya also spoke to Sanjay Singh, police station officer (SHO) of Khazanchi Hat sahayak police station where the case is registered. The officer said the four named defendants had been arrested. Others involved are being identified, he said.
Sahil and Shaqib were arrested the same night of September 14, and the Ladla and Lal brothers were detained a week later, he said.
When asked if the defendant had a criminal history, Singh said he had information that the key defendant, Ladla, was on drugs and operating a gang of thieves.
However, no police case is registered against him at K Hat police station.
The local Vishwa Hindu Parishad unit staged protests and agitations over the case, accusing the police of letting the case escalate, ultimately resulting in the death of a young man.