| Amarmani Tripathi
Lucknow, Sept. 14: The Madhumita Shukla murder case is becoming a gauge for the political ups and downs in Uttar Pradesh as the principal actors change political loyalty and statements.
The CBI realised this when former Bahujan Samaj Party minister Amarmani Tripathi retracted his allegation of a political conspiracy by the Samajwadi Party to implicate him in the murder.
Tripathi, once a trusted member of Mayavati’s council of ministers, switched loyalty to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi after the BSP government fell. Earlier, Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh had branded Tripathi the killer and accused Mayavati of shielding him.
Sources said the retraction by Tripathi, who quit office after allegations of his involvement in the murder, came during the CBI’s grilling for the second consecutive day yesterday.
“He told us last night after four hours of grilling that he was misinformed when he made his allegations against SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh,” a bureau official said. The CBI grilled Tripathi for over five hours the previous night and twice earlier in Delhi.
The sleuths are also puzzled by the shifting views of the murdered poet’s family. After hinting at Tripathi’s involvement initially, the family is now denying the “pregnancy theory”. Madhumita was found pregnant during autopsy. Her mother Shanti now feels that the “theory” was just a wild goose chase and the new twists in the case are aimed at letting the culprits off the hook.
CBI officials said Tripathi has been changing his stand from the moment his name figured in the case, unlike his wife Madhumani who has consistently denied a hand in the murder.
The bureau had grilled her on September 6 and 8, when Madhumani denied any knowledge of the alleged affair between Tripathi and the poet, and ever having seen Madhumita, except on television and in newspapers. She also said she had no idea why her name had cropped up in the poet’s diary.
Tripathi had initially denied any involvement in the case but later admitted to knowing Madhumita when confronted with her letters and mobile phone bills.
The CBI is now investigating a new lead of souring ties between Tripathi and Madhumita after the entry of Kumaon-based Bhavana Pandey, who was nabbed at a Lucknow hotel in August. Tripathi had allegedly used Bhavana to gain favours from bureaucrats. The bureau is pinning its hopes on the DNA matching of Tripathi’s blood sample with that of Madhumita’s foetus.