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Murder cloud on MLA
- Patna outrage over body of woman

Patna, Nov. 1: Politicians with a tainted past continue to dog the NDA government desperate for a clean image with Janata Dal (U) MLA Anant Singh being arrested for assaulting mediapersons seeking his reaction to allegations that he may have had a hand in the murder of a woman whose body was found close to his official residence.

Police yesterday recovered the body of the young woman near the Mall Road residence of Singh, whose name spells terror in Mokamah. The first-time legislator faces a dozen cases of murder, rape, armed raids and other crimes. He has snakes and horses as pets at his official residence.

The recovery of the body comes weeks after chief minister Nitish Kumar received a letter from one Reshma, who accused Singh of repeatedly raping her at the Mall Road house. Her brother Munna wrote another letter a few days ago to Nitish, alleging that the legislator had told him that he had killed Reshma and dumped her body.

Police officials were tight-lipped but sources said the needle of suspicion pointed at Singh, though the identity of the body was yet to be established. Neither Reshma nor Munna, in their letters, had mentioned their addresses.

Nitish, whose government has been trying to refurbish the image of Bihar as a lawless state, was quick to order a CBI probe into the mysterious death of the woman. “I want justice and the truth to come out in the case,” he said. But no one in the government or the administration was willing to explain why no action was taken even after the brother-sister duo pleaded for help. Deputy inspector-general of police (Patna range) Sunil Kumar merely said: “Patna senior SP Kundan Krishnan has been investigating the case.”

The Opposition has called a 12-hour Bihar bandh tomorrow. Former chief minister Rabri Devi, whose RJD regime earned the sobriquet of “jungle raj”, described the Nitish era as the “real jungle raj”.

In her undated letter (written in Hindi) to the chief minister, Reshma says: “One Mukesh Singh took me to Anant Singh’s house on October 10 on the pretext of giving me a job. Singh, who was exercising, instantly forced me on his bed and raped me repeatedly asking me how much money I needed for the act. The MLA later got picked me up several times and raped me.”

Reshma had appealed to the chief minister to rescue her from the MLA’s clutches and marked copies of her letter to the Bihar DGP, IG, Patna, and several other top officials.

A few days later, Reshma’s brother Munna wrote another letter to Nitish (copy to DGP, chief justice of Patna High Court and newspapers), saying that Mukesh, a builder and Anant Singh’s friend, took his sister to the MLA’s house on October 27. “I phoned Anant Singh after waiting for my sister for a couple of days. Anant Singh told me on phone that he had killed Reshma and had thrown her body nearby,” the letter says. Munna quotes the MLA as telling him, ‘“I will kill you too if you speak about the issue. Nitish Kumar is in my pocket. Even the Patna SP touches my feet. Stay silent.”’

Confronted with the charges today by the reporter of a TV channel, the MLA whipped out his gun and began beating him and the cameraman with its butt. His henchmen closed the doors of the house and kept the journalists hostage for close to two hours.

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