Jammu: Police on Tuesday said initial investigations into the murder of Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General (Prisons) Hemant Kumar Lohia here did not point towards the terror angle as efforts are on to arrest his domestic help who has emerged as the main suspect in the case.
Lohia was found murdered at his residence on the outskirts of Jammu late Monday night.
Terror group People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) claimed responsibility for his murder, which took place at a time when Union Home Minister Amit Shah is on a three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
Officials said multiple teams have been constituted to arrest the suspected culprit, Yasir Lohar (23), a resident of Halla-Dhandrath village in Ramban district.
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Director General of Police Dilbag Singh described the incident as “extremely unfortunate” and said a manhunt had been launched to nab the domestic help, who is absconding.
Giving details, Singh told PTI that the suspect had even attempted to set ablaze the body of 57-year-old Lohia, who was promoted and appointed as Director General of Prisons in the Union Territory in August.
Additional Director General of Police, Jammu zone, Mukesh Singh, who visited the house of Lohia at Udaiwala on the outskirts of Jammu, said the 1992-batch IPS officer was found dead on Monday night, with burn injuries on his body and his throat slit.
A preliminary examination of the crime scene indicated that Lohia must have been applying some oil on his foot which showed swelling. The killer suffocated Lohia to death and also used a broken ketchup bottle to slit his throat and later tried to set the body afire, he said.
The guards present at the residence of the officer saw the fire inside his room. They had to break open the door as it was locked from inside, the ADGP said.
He said the preliminary examination of the scene of crime points towards murder.
“The domestic help is absconding. A search for him has started,” the police officer said, adding forensic and crime teams inspected the spot.
J and K Police family expresses grief and deep sorrow over the death of the senior officer, he added.
The officials said raids were conducted by special teams at different places to trace the domestic help, whose last location was found in the higher reaches of Udhampur district.
The ADGP said the CCTV footage collected from the incident site shows the suspected accused running away after the commission of the crime.
“Lohar was working in this house for nearly six months…Initial investigation revealed that he was quite aggressive in his behaviour and was also under depression,” he said, as police shared his pictures and sought the help of the public in the arrest of the accused.
Terror group PAFF claimed that its “special squad” carried out the “intelligence-based operation” to target the high-value target.
“This is just the beginning of such high profile operations just to warn this Hindutva regime and its collaborators that we can strike anytime and anywhere with precision. This is a small gift to their visiting home minister amid such a security grid. God willing we will continue such operations in future,” the PAFF said in a statement online.
However, ADGP Singh said no terror link has come to the fore as per the initial investigation.
“A thorough probe is on to rule out any possibility. The weapon of offence has been seized besides some documentary evidence reflecting his (domestic help’s) mental state,” he said.
Officials said the body of the deceased officer was removed to Government Medical College (GMC) hospital Jammu for post-mortem.