| Anant Singh (top) and Viveka Singh, also known as Viveka Pahalwan. Pictures by Deepak Kumar
Patna, Feb. 10: Three persons on an alleged mission to “eliminate” JD(U) legislator and strongman Anant Singh were arrested from the city today, sparking fears that the dusty battleground of Mokama could shift to the state capital if the decade-long rivalry between the legislator and his nephew Viveka Singh goes on unbridled.
The arrests, ostensibly made on a tip-off from Anant himself, were made from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) campus under Shastri Nagar police station. Among those arrested is a brother of Viveka.
The trio, identified as Arvind Singh, Kamlesh Singh and Abhay Singh, were arrested early in the morning. The men had with them at least two regular rifles, one pistol and as many as 56 rounds of live cartridges.
Though the police said the men were being interrogated, sources said Arvind, the brother of Viveka, had been working as a security guard at the hospital for over six months. “Arvind had been working at the hospital. The police are yet to find out whether he had been duly recruited by the hospital or by any private security agency. It can well be a part of the whole planning process,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.
Police said a hatchback car with a New Delhi registration number had been recovered from the trio.
In a conversation with The Telegraph, Anant, who has several criminal cases against him, said he had informed the police about a possible attack on him.
“I received information that around 50 people had assembled and that they were hatching a plot to launch a major attack on me. I immediately informed the administration. The police raided the premises and arrested three persons while the rest apparently escaped. They killed my brother earlier and now they want to kill me too. These men live in Delhi for the most part. They come down, attack my family and my men and then flee,” Anant said.
The rivalry between Anant, termed as the “Chhote Sarkar” of Mokama, 100km east of Patna, and Viveka, a dreaded criminal, dates back to 2004. Viveka, who was trained to become a wrestler by Anant himself, shifted loyalties from him that year.
Since then the “war” between the two has resulted in at least half-a-dozen killings, the last being that of Jaleshwar Singh, a close relative of Anant in August last year. Jaleshwar was gunned down while he was on way to the Barh police station, some 70km from Patna.
Viveka, who is facing charges of murder, kidnapping and extortion and is lodged at the Barh jail since 2009, was accused of masterminding the murder of Jaleshwar.
Earlier, Viveka’s name had figured in the killing of the MLA’s elder brother Sacchidanant Singh alias Fajo Singh, who was killed in Barh about two years ago.
Fajo, an advocate by profession who used to look after the legal affairs of Anant, was shot dead while he was on his way to the Barh market.
Apart from Viveka, his son Raja Parikshit and his associates Lalit Kumar, Ekalavya Kumar, Kanhaiya Kumar, Rajiv Kumar, Rajesh Kumar, Abhay Singh and Shiv Kumar were made accused in the murder of Fajo.
On January 8, 2010, Viveka’s brother Sanjay Singh, a contractor by profession, was killed near the office of the rural engineering organisation on Boring Canal Road in Patna.
This was the first time when the Mokama gang war saw blood being spilled on Patna’s streets.
Patna SSP Alok Kumar said two of the men arrested today figured in the list of accused in the murder of Fajo and Jaleshwar.
“The motive is not clear at this moment and nothing much can be said now. The men are being interrogated,” he said.
Police sources said the rivalry had turned sourer.
“The police now need to be careful. With these men being arrested from Patna, things can turn explosive and a gang war in Patna cannot be ruled out. The Patna rural areas like Mokama and Barh are small places and have seen much bloodshed as a result of this enmity. Patna could be the next battleground,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.
Both Anant and Viveka hail from Ladma village, around 4km south of Barh town with their residences located nearby.