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CBI on scent of Madhumita second ‘killer’

New Delhi, Nov. 8: The CBI claims to have identified the second person in the killing of Madhumita Shukla, the poet whose murder has led to the arrest of former Uttar Pradesh minister Amarmani Tripathi. Madhumita was carrying Tripathi’s child when she died.

The bureau based its claim on the interrogation of two persons, including a relative of Tripathi’s wife Madhumani, who were arrested in Lucknow on Thursday, but refused to give details for the sake of the investigations.

Among them is 22-year-old Santosh Rai, who, sleuths allege, shot Madhumita after introducing himself as Satya Prakash. They believe an accomplice was with him when he went to the Paper Mill Colony residence of the poet.

The only witness, 10-year-old Deshraj, Madhumita’s domestic help, had said two people visited the house — one said he was Satya Prakash — on May 9 after which Madhumita was found dead.

Rohit Chaturvedi, the other person being grilled, is alleged to have hired the killers. CBI officials said he acted on behalf of his relative Madhumani, who wanted to teach Madhumita a lesson after learning that she was refusing to abort her six-month foetus. DNA fingerprinting has confirmed that it was Tripathi’s child.

He is said to have told his interrogators that Tripathi’s wife hatched the conspiracy about five months before Madhumita was shot. “Madhumita ko sabak sikhana hai,” Madhumani kept telling him four-five months prior to the killing, he has said.

“Madhumani got Madhumita eliminated because she was feeling jealous of her after becoming aware of her intimate relationship with Tripathi,” CBI sources said.

The former minister was also spending more on her. He had bought her a house and a refrigerator, a source added.

These revelations indicate that Tripathi was not involved in the murder. He came to know of his wife’s role after the crime had taken place. So, unless the CBI can garner evidence of his involvement, the former minister will only be charged with faking or destroying evidence to save his wife, legal experts said.

The bureau will get the statements of Rai and Chaturvedi, both of whom belong to Gorakhpur and have criminal backgrounds, recorded before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code so that they can be used as evidence in court.

An executive magistrate will conduct a test identification parade of Rai in the next two days, in which Deshraj will have to identify him as Satya Prakash to prove he was one of the killers.

The CBI has moved an application before special judicial magistrate R.M. Yadav of Lucknow for conducting the parade in Barabanki jail, where Rai is lodged till November 21. Rai, a B.Com student in Lucknow University, was picked up from Chandra Sekhar Azad hostel on Thursday.

On the CBI’s request, the Lucknow court had put Rai in Barabanki jail, instead of Lucknow prison, where Tripathi is lodged.

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