Relatives take possession of Raj's body; to fly back today

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Mumbai, Oct 28 (UNI) Relatives of Rahul Raj, who was gunned down by city police after he had held a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus passengers captive at pistol point near Bailbazar in the eastern suburb of Kurla, today took out a possession of his body from the state-run J J Hosptial on completion of post-mortem and other formalities.

Doctors from J J Hospital said, ''Raj's cousin and grand mother claimed the body and we handed it over to them in the noon today.

The bullet from his body has been removed and the relatives will be taking back the body to Patna today itself.'' The post-mortem report is ready and will be handed over to the police department in due course of time.

Sources also said the relatives were accompanied by a high ranking Bihar police officer, though he did not come to the hospital.

Raj had come to the city in search of a job on October 24.

Yesterday, he had boarded a double-decker bus number 332, plying from Kurla to Andheri station, at Sakinaka. Near Bailbazaar in the eastern suburb of Kurla, he allegedly started shouting that he had come down to eliminate Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray.

When the bus conductor asked for a ticket or monthly pass, he tied the conductor's hands and allegedly fired a few rounds in the air.

''He was shouting, 'Mai Patna se aaya hu, muze kisi ko kuchh nahi karna hai, mai MNS president Raj Thackeray ko message dena chahata hu' (I have come from Patna. I do not want to harm anyone, I only want to pass on a message to Mr Thackeray).'' Another condutor from the same bus rushed to a nearby police station and informed them about the incident.

The police then cordoned off the bus, and asked him to surrender.

Instead, he allegedly fired at a police team. In the retaliatory firing that ensued, he suffered head and chest injuries and collapsed on the ground.

Raj was admitted to the civic-run Rajawadi Hospital at Ghatkopar, where he was declared dead on admission.

The incident has caused nationwide furore, with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar stating that Raj could have been arrested and there was no need to shoot him down.

It may be recalled that recently some youths from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had come to the city to appear for the Railway Board examination on October 19 and were allegedly assaulted by MNS activists.

Thereafter, Raj Thackeray was arrested from Ratnagiri. His arrest led to state-wide protests by his activists who resorted to stone pelting and arson for his release.

UNI ST-GS SR KK AKJ CS1623

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