The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VIP faces poet murder quiz

Lucknow, June 13: The Uttar Pradesh CID has decided to “interrogate” former minister Amarmani Tripathi and his wife in connection with the murder of poet Madhumita Shukla.

Chief minister Mayavati had dropped Tripathi from her Cabinet on May 17 under fire from the Opposition, after Nidhi, the poet’s sister, alleged a relationship between him and Madhumita. Tripathi’s wife, Nidhi alleged, had instigated the murder.

The CID sent a summons to the Tripathis’ Lawrence Road bungalow yesterday through Lucknow district police chief Vinay Kumar, asking the minister and his wife to come to the CID headquarters to record their statements.

Earlier, Madhumita’s family members had refused to come to Lucknow to get their statements recorded by a magistrate. The CID had sent an official to their Mishrana residence in Lakhimpur yesterday to bring them to Lucknow. But Madhumita’s family members reportedly refused to accompany the official, saying they had nothing to add to their already-recorded statements.

“Instead of catching the killers, the police are bent upon harassing us. We have now written to the Prime Minister for a CBI investigation,” Madhumita’s brother, Vijay Shukla, said.

Madhumita was shot dead in her Lucknow flat on May 9 by two unidentified men.

The delay by the CID in recording Tripathi’s statement has baffled a section of Uttar Pradesh police officials, who thought Mayavati was trying to bury the case when she transferred it from civil police. After Nidhi’s allegations, CID investigations into Tripathi’s area of operation in eastern Uttar Pradesh had indicated that Madhumita played an important role in the minister’s personal as well as public life.

“The gesture to question Tripathi and his wife appears to be aimed at satisfying Allahabad High Court about the investigating agency’s impartiality since a PIL seeking transfer of the case to the CBI is pending before the court,” an official said. Admitting the PIL on May 13, the court had asked the government and the state police chief to file counter-affidavits within four weeks.

Tripathi, however, had not replied to the CID summons till this evening. “He has been asked to visit us within two days. We will decide our next move when the period is over,” said a senior official.

Recording Tripathi’s statement without delay has become necessary for the CID because it is under pressure to submit a progress report to Mayavati by June 17. While dropping Tripathi from her Cabinet, Mayavati had asked the CID to finish its investigation within one month and promised to reinstate the minister if he was given a clean chit.

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