| Rupam Pathak. (PTI) |
Patna, Jan. 4: Purnea BJP MLA Rajkishore Keshari was stabbed to death at his residence this morning by a woman who had levelled charges of sexual harassment on him earlier.
The shawl-clad assailant, 43-year-old school principal Rupam Pathak, walked into the lawn of the MLA on the pretext of meeting him around 9am. When Keshari agreed to her request to talk to him in private, a few metres away from where the other visitors were sitting, she took out a knife to stab the MLA. Spotting the weapon, the legislator took an evasive action but he was stabbed in his back. Keshari died on the way to hospital.
Pathak was beaten up by the other visitors. She is nursing her injuries in a hospital and is out of danger.
The assailant, who runs a private school in Sipahi Tola area of Purnea, came to meet the MLA when he was sitting on his lawn with eight to 10 people. She sat down on one of the chairs in front the MLA. After two to three minutes, she told Keshari she wanted to talk to him in private.
The 53-year-old MLA got up and walked over to another set of chairs, 15 to 20 metres away from where he was sitting. After talking for a few minutes, Pathak stood up and took out a 36-inch-long knife hidden under her black shawl with red and yellow stripes.
In a bid to evade stabbing, Keshari stooped. But Pathak stabbed him on his back, dealing a six-inch wound. As Pathak tried to stab the MLA for the second time, his bodyguard rushed to stop her. The guard suffered a cut in his hand.
A profusely bleeding Keshari, whose spleen was ruptured in the attack, was rushed to Sadar hospital. But he was declared brought dead.
The crowd present at the MLA’s house beat up Pathak. She was admitted to Katihar Medical College and Hospital with bruises.
Purnea deputy inspector-general Amit Kumar, however, said Pathak was not beaten up but overpowered by a security guard. A policeman and Pathak were injured in the scuffle. “The knife was big. A policeman, who had tried to overpower her soon after she stabbed Keshari, also suffered minor injuries in the scuffle. As a reflex action, the MLA had crouched in his chair. He was stabbed on his back. Keshari died of excessive bleeding. The knife had also hit his aorta,” Kumar said.
Keshari’s son, who lives in New Delhi, was on his way to Patna. The MLA would be cremated tomorrow.
The murder of the MLA in daylight has sent shockwaves throughout the state with chief minister Nitish Kumar directing the director-general of police, Neel Mani, to conduct a high-level probe into the incident. The police are probing the case from different angles. Investigations are also on to ascertain if Pathak was used as a pawn to settle scores with the slain MLA, said a police officer. Additional forces have been sent to Purnea to avert any untoward incident.
Sources said Pathak and Keshari had first met in 2006 when she had approached him for building a road near her school. In May last year, she levelled charges of sexual harassment and rape on Keshari. She had also lodged an FIR at Khajanchi police station, accusing the MLA and his aide, Vivek Rai, of continuous sexual harassment for over three years. Keshari, however, rubbished the allegations. Pathak turned hostile in the court.