A £50,000 reward has been offered to catch the killer of Lancaster University student, Anuj Bidve.
Greater Manchester Police has confirmed it is making the offer for information into the “horrific murder” of the 23-year-old, who was shot in the face at point-blank range as he walked through Salford with friends on Boxing Day.
The murder of the Indian national, a microelectronics student at Lancaster University, is being treated by detectives as a “hate crime” which may have been racially motivated.
On Friday, senior officers from the force announced the 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.
“We absolutely understand the need to take whoever is responsible for this off the streets.
“That’s the reason we are issuing it now at such an early stage.”
Often rewards are offered by the police weeks or months after the crime.
GMP Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley speaking at a news conference at the force HQ in Manchester on Friday, said: “We are going to issue a reward here and now, for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Anuj’s murder.
“That reward is £50,000.
“Clearly this is a lot of money and we are deliberately offering a reward because we want it to be sufficient to make people understand the importance of us getting information from them that will lead us to convict the people who murdered Anuj Bidve in the early hours of Boxing Day.”
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.
Police said a 16-year-old boy and two 17-year-old boys arrested over the murder have been released on bail pending further inquiries. Two men, aged 19 and 20, remain in custody.
Earlier, Ms Copley apologised after it emerged that the victim’s father learned of his son’s murder from Facebook.
Subhash Bidve read a post on the social networking site before officers were able to get in touch with him in India to deliver the news about his son.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Nobody official from the UK Government or consulate or the Indian government called us and told us about this.
“I am really surprised because they confiscated his phone and must have known his father’s or mother’s number.
“They could have called us and told us what had happened to him.”
Ms Copley said: “That is not the way anyone should have to find out something so devastating and we completely understand how upset the family are.
“Social networking is instantaneous and we have no control over when and what people post on such sites, but no-one should hear such tragic news in this way.
“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.
“Since then, we 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.
“Greater Manchester Police is also working very hard to bring the family over to Manchester as soon as possible.
“For reasons beyond the family’s control, it is unlikely they will be able to do so until early next week so the force is putting plans in place to send officers to India to offer support.”
Ms Copley added: “This is a despicable and senseless murder that has shocked everyone and the Bidve family are going through something no family should ever have to endure.
“I want to reassure the family that staff across the whole of Greater Manchester Police are working on this investigation night and day to bring those responsible for Anuj’s murder to justice.