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Lone witness identifies Madhumita killer

Lucknow, Nov. 9: Madhumita Shukla’s domestic help today identified one of the two men arrested by the CBI as Satya Prakash, the man who visited the poet the day she was murdered.

Desraj was taken to Barabanki jail to identify Santosh Kumar Rai. The boy pointed him out as Satya Prakash, who had called on Madhumita at her Paper Mill Colony flat in Lucknow along with another man on the fateful night of May 9.

Now that Rai has been identified, the CBI is hot on the trail of the other killer. “We will arrest him also shortly,” a bureau official said, hinting at the imminent arrest of former minister Amarmani Tripathi’s wife Madhumani.

Rai and Rohit Chaturvedi, recently arrested, have confirmed the murder was committed at her instance.

Rai has told the bureau that Madhumani was in Lucknow on the day of the murder and left for Gorakhpur after ensuring the plot would be executed as planned.

“Now that Desraj has identified Rai as Satya Prakash, we plan to take Rai also under custody and go hunting for the second killer with his help and recover the murder weapon, if possible,” a bureau official said.

Chaturvedi of Gorakhpur, who is Tripathi’s cousin, is already in CBI custody. He allegedly hired the killers on Madhumani’s behalf and paid Rai Rs 2 lakh for the job.

Chaturvedi is said to have confessed that Madhumani asked him to eliminate Madhumita three months before the murder, when she first found out the poet was pregnant.

According to him, Tripathi’s wife kept saying “Madhumita ko sabak sikhana hai (Madhumita must be taught a lesson)”.

Madhumita was carrying a six-month-old foetus that subsequent DNA fingerprinting confirmed was fathered by Tripathi.

The sleuths claimed to have obtained several vital clues from Chaturvedi about the murder conspiracy and subsequent destruction of evidence to mislead law enforcement agencies.

“We have sufficient evidence to show that even if Tripathi may not have been a party to the conspiracy at the beginning, he played a key role in destruction of the evidence and efforts to mislead the police and (the) agency,” a bureau official said.

The CBI now plans to put Chaturvedi through a lie-detector test. Tripathi, in judicial custody since his arrest by the bureau last month, has already taken the test.

Now that answers to key questions in the murder case have been worked out, the bureau’s main concern is the security of potential witnesses.

It has already written to Barabanki jail authorities to take special measures to protect Rai and not allow any outsider to meet him without CBI permission.

Rai was lodged in Barabanki jail, and not in a prison in the state capital, on the bureau’s request as Tripathi is lodged in Lucknow prison.

The bureau has already taken Desraj, the sole witness, into its protective custody.

It is now trying to find the 10-year-old boy a safe shelter till the trial.

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