Missing elderly couple found buried at road construction site in Pipara, MahottariThe couple was abducted from Sahodwa in Ward No. 5 of Pipara Rural Municipality on February 23.
The bodies of an elderly couple who had gone missing on February 22 in Pipara, Mahottari, were found buried at the Pipara-Atara road construction site on Thursday.
A special investigation team of the District Police Office in Mahottari discovered the bodies of 66-year-old Musafir Jha and his 60-year-old wife Geeta Devi. The belongings recovered from the incident site helped identify the couple, said police.
The incident site where the bodies were recovered is 3.5 kilometres from the couple’s house.
The couple was abducted from Sahodwa in Ward No. 5 of Pipara Rural Municipality in February. Their whereabouts were unknown, according to the Provincial Police Office in Janakpur.
On Sunday, police made public four individuals on the charge of abducting the couple. The District Police Office in Mahottari had organised a press meet and charged a case of abduction against them.
“The bodies were found at Pipara Rural Municipality Ward No. 2 along the Pipata-Atara road section,” said Dhiraj Pratap Singh, deputy inspector general of police and also the chief at the Provincial Police Office in Janakpur. “The bodies were found buried at a diversion site. Musafir’s body was found in a sack while his wife’s body was buried nearby. The perpetrators also used salt to decompose the bodies”
The Pipata-Atara road is undergoing a second phase of construction.
“The couple was murdered in their home. The bodies were then buried at the road construction site,” said Superintendent of Police in Mahottari Dinesh Acharya.
The family of the deceased and the neighbours suspect that the couple was killed because of a land dispute issue.
“On the morning of February 22, I went to check on my in-laws since it was unusual for them not to come out of their rooms. I went in and they weren’t there. The room had bloodstains. I immediately informed the neighbours and called the police,” said Usha Devi, Musafir’s daughter-in-law.
Musafir had retired from a job at the District Land Revenue Office in Mahottari 10 years ago after almost four decades of employment. Police investigation shows that he was currently advocating for a land case related to tenants’ rights of a neighbouring village in the Land Management Office in Jaleshwor.
Following the incident, on February 23, the local residents of Sahodwa in Pipara had staged demonstrations and obstructed vehicular movement along the Jaleshwor-Janakpur road demanding prompt investigation into the case.
“Among the arrested individuals, Harendra Thakur, a native of Madhuwani in India currently residing in Pipara, is involved in real estate business. He had been plotting 13 bighas of land in Sahodwa. The deceased (Musafir) owns 14 bighas of land on the northern part of the plotted land. Thakur had been putting pressure on Musafir to sell his land but Musafir had refused,” said SP Acharya.
“This is a senseless murder,” said Usha Devi. “My in-laws were killed because of a land issue. The administration should take strong action against the perpetrators.”