Lucknow, March 4: UP minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya on Monday, resigned from the state cabinet in the wake of the killing of a DSP in Pratapgarh district. However, he pleaded ‘not guilty’ in the UP assembly. Meanwhile, after meeting the slain officer’s wife, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said that he has recommended a CBI inquiry to probe the incident.
The DSP was lynched to death by the villagers in Belipur village, falling in the Kunda assembly constituency of Raja Bhaiya in Pratapgarh district on Saturday. The villagers were agitated over the murder of the village pradhan Nanhe Yadav and shot the DSP in the head and chest with his own service revolver while Imran, the gunner of the DSP also received serious bullet injuries in the incident. Seven other policemen accompanying the DSP fled the area after the villagers opened fire.
The village pradhan Nanhe Yadav was a supporter of the minister Raja Bhaiya but his relations with the minister were said to be strained for quite some time. Apprehending threat to his life, Yadav had approached the district SP seeking security cover, which was ignored by the police. According to the police, Nanhe Yadav, who had an old enmity with the former pradhan Kamla Prasdad Pal of the same village, was shot dead on Saturday evening in the village. Following the attack on Yadav, the villagers attacked the house of the former pradhan, who was suspected to be behind Yadav’s murder. Later, both sides opened fire on each other in which slain pradhan’s brother Suresh Yadav was also killed. Police sources said the DSP rushed to the village as soon as he was informed of the incident. The villagers, angry with the police for not providing security to Yadav, attacked the policemen.
Raja Bhaiya, who was asked to resign from the cabinet by the CM Akhilesh Yadav on Monday, has been charged with criminal conspiracy under Section 120 (B) of the IPC in the murder of the DSP. He tendered his resignation on Monday morning and also met the UP governor BL Joshi, along with the CM Akhilesh Yadav. However, the minister claimed to be innocent and said he was a victim of a political conspiracy and had nothing to do with the killing of DSP Zia ul Haq. He avoided media persons outside the Raj Bhawan, saying he would speak only in the state assembly. When he stood up to make his statement in the state assembly, the opposition BSP objected saying “How can a murder accused be allowed to speak in assembly and that his true place is in jail.” However, speaker Mata Prasad Pandey ruled that since the opposition has demanded debate on the killing of the DSP and also moved the adjournment notice, Raja Bhaiya would be allowed to speak.
“I demand an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the killing of the DSP Zia ul Haq, the village pradhan and his brother. I have resigned from the cabinet as I cannot accept the government being maligned because of me or the adversaries of the SP government to get a convenient handle to defame the government.”
Pleading his innocence, the former minister said “I am not scared of going to jail and I favour an inquiry by the CBI into the incident. The killing of an honest police officer has deeply saddened me. During my 11-month tenure as minister I met the DSP of Kunda only twice. I knew him as a fine officer with a good image and a sensitive human being,” said Raja Bhaiya.
Blaming the police for the incident, the former minister said, “The police committed a big mistake in allowing the body of Nanhe Yadav to be taken back to his village from Kunda town. The police should have sent the body to the mortuary for the post mortem.” The villagers resisted the attempts of the police to take possession of the body which led to the violence and the death of the DSP, he added.
Later on Monday evening, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav reached the native village of the slain police officer – Juafar village in the eastern UP district of Deoria. He paid floral tribute to the slain DSP and handed over two cheques worth Rs 25 lakh each, to the parents of the DSP and his wife Parveen Azad.
However, the CM had to face a hostile crowd as the villagers raised anti-government slogans demanding the immediate arrest of former minister Raja Bhaiya. Earlier in the day, Parveen had announced to sit on an indefinite fast and refused to perform the burial of her husband’s body. “Compensation is no solution. I want justice and the CM will have to come to the village, otherwise I will go to Lucknow and commit self immolation in front of the CM’s residence,” said Parveen. “My husband has been killed on the direction of Raja Bhaiya. My husband was desperate for a transfer from Kunda and had asked me to go to the janata darshan of the CM, where he meets the common people, and plead for his transfer. It’s not the rule of law, but the law of Raja Bhaiya that prevails in Kunda,” she said.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said that he had accepted all the demands raised by the widow of the slain DSP. “She has desired that the CBI should conduct an inquiry into the incident. The government will soon send the recommendations in this regard to the Union home ministry and will also provide security to the family of the police officer,” he said.
Earlier, making a statement in the state assembly, the CM said, “I want to assure the House that a just and impartial action will be taken against those responsible.” Stressing on the government’s resolve to bring the culprits to book, the CM said his government was open to conducting any kind of inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, three policemen have been suspended and four FIR’s have been lodged by the police in Hathigavan police station of Pratapgarh district in connection with the murder of the DSP Zia ul haq, the village pradhan and his brother on Saturday.
The ADG (Law and Order) Arun Kumar said that the police officers suspended include the inspector of the Hathigavan police station Sarvesh Mishra, sub inspector (investigation) Vinay Singh and Imran, gunner of the slain DSP. “The matter is being investigated by the police and we are particularly looking into the circumstance where the police personnel’s accompanying the DSP chose to flee from the troubled spot instead of coming to the aid of the officer when he was attacked by the villagers.” So far two persons named in the FIR have been arrested and more arrests are likely to be made soon, he added.
A total of four FIRs have been lodged by the police in connection with the incident in Belipur village of Pratapgarh. One FIR has been lodged by the family members of the village pradhan Nanhe Yadav, second by the police about the entire incident, third about the murder of Suresh Yadav, the brother of the pradhan and the fourth by Parveen-wife of the slain DSP. He said the situation in the village in Pratapgarh was under control and the IG of zone Allahabad, Alok Sharma, was camping in the village.
Moreover, the IG (law and order) RK Vishwakarma, briefing the media said raids were being conducted in Pratapgarh district and more arrests were likely. He said two persons named in the FIR Rajiv Singh and Guddu Singh have been arrested. He refused to comment as to when the police will interrogate the former minister Raja Bhaiya who has been named in the FIR. Meanwhile, Raja Bhaiya has claimed that his driver Rohit Singh has been falsely implicated in the case. “Rohit Singh was in Lucknow on Saturday and I had gone to meet the CM to apprise him of the incident in Belipur village. I was in my private vehicle driven by Rohit Singh. The presence of Rohit Singh in Lucknow can also be verified from the video footage of the CCTV cameras installed at the CM residence,” Raja Bhaiya argued.
Earlier in the day, the Samajwadi Party rejected the opposition’s demand for the resignation of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Bahujan Samaj Party chief and former chief minister Mayawati was in the forefront demanding the resignation of the CM and imposition of the President’s rule in Uttar Pradesh.
“Mayawati’s demands are totally uncalled for. It’s like the pot calling the kettle black,” said SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav. “During the previous BSP regime in UP, several BSP MLAs had to go to jail on rape charges and the murder of a government official,” he added. “I want to assure that there will no political interference in the police investigation and whoever is found responsible for killing the brave police officer, will be brought to justice,” said Ram Gopal Yadav, younger brother of the SP chief and party leader in the Rajya Sabha.