Anuj Bidve killing: Cops to visit India, teenagers bailed

The police apologised to the family that it came to know about the incident not from them but from Facebook.

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Three teenagers arrested in connection with the murder of Indian student Anuj Bidve in the UK were today released on bail even as the police apologised to the family that it came to know about the incident not from them but from Facebook.

The UK police also offered a reward of £50,000 to find those linked to the murder and that the investigating team was putting in place plans to send officers to India to offer support to the Bidve family.

A 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys have been released on bail, the police announced.

Five persons were earlier arrested by police on suspicion of murdering Bidve, who was shot in the head in Manchester at close range in an "unprovoked" attack on December 26 on Boxing Day.

The British police investigating the murder apologised that his family learnt of the incident through Facebook rather than from the police.

Responding to remarks of Subhash Bidve, the Pune-based father of the victim, assistant chief constable Dawn Copley said a family liaison officer was deployed soon after the incident but admitted that news of the information was first released on Facebook.

"A Family Liaison Officer was quickly put in place after Anuj's murder who made exhaustive inquiries to try and inform the family and deliver the awful news personally. Unfortunately, as the officer was attempting to contact the family through the right channels, a post was put on Facebook," Copley said.

"We know that Mr Bidve has spoken to the media about finding out on a social networking site that Anuj had been murdered. Sadly, that was the case. That is not the way anyone should have to find out something so devastating and we completely understand how upset the family are," she added.

The murder of the Indian student is being treated by detectives at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) as a "hate crime" which may have been racially motivated.

Today senior officers from the force announced the £50,000 cash reward and said they hoped it would help get the killer gunman caught as soon as possible.

Det Chief Supt Mary Doyle, leading the murder inquiry, said: "It is an extremely unusual, savage and motiveless attack, an absolutely horrific crime, which is why we are taking the step of issuing it (the reward) a bit earlier than we normally would."

According to the Press Association, Police have not said whether investigators have so far met with a wall of silence from the local community in Ordsall, one of the most deprived inner-city districts of Greater Manchester.

Two men, aged 19 and 20, remain in custody.

Noting the instantaneous nature of social networking sites, Copley earlier regretted that "we have no control over when and what people post on such sites, but no-one should hear such tragic news in this way".

She said since then the authorities have had two Family Liaison Officers in regular contact with Anuj's immediate family and those who speak on his behalf to keep them updated about every step of the progress of the investigation.

The police, she said, was working closely with the coroner to ensure the family can bring Anuj's body home as soon as possible.

"The body cannot be released at this stage of the investigation but we are doing everything we can to respect the family's wish," Copley said.

Greater Manchester Police is also working very hard to bring the family over to Manchester as soon as possible.

Speaking to BBC from Pune earlier in the day, Subhash Bidve said he and his family learnt of the killing from Facebook rather than from the police or official sources.

"One of my cousins and one of my nephews, they have seen the message and they called me," he said, adding that he could not understand why police had not contacted them because his number was on his son's mobile phone.

Bidve said: "Last four days we have been feeling so much trauma because we are yet to know when Anuj can come back."

"We are really worried. All family members are worried about it. Everyone at home, they are all shattered and waiting for his remains to do all religious things," he said.

Asked if getting the murdered student's body repatriated was his main priority, Subhash Bidve said: "Absolutely."

"That is my only concern. We do not have a specific date or time frame when it can be done and do not understand it. We find it difficult and it is not accepted," he said.

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