Sanjeev Singh on his way to the court in Dhanbad on Monday. (Gautam Dey)
Dhanbad, Sept. 10: A trade union leader, missing from Dhanbad ever since he was named accused in one of the most sensational murders of the coal capital last year, surrendered today, but in connection with cases on election-related offences allegedly committed in 2009.
Sanjeev Singh, son of BJP’s Jharia MLA Kunti Singh, gave himself up in dramatic fashion in the court of first class judicial magistrate Brij Kishore Pandey, who granted him bail in two cases, namely, violation of prohibitory orders and damage to a vehicle of a Congress candidate, the late Suresh Singh, during campaigning for Jharkhand Assembly elections of 2009.
Suresh Singh, district treasurer of the Congress, was shot dead on December 7, 2011, while he was attending the wedding reception of hotelier Nunu Singh’s son at Dhanbad Club in the presence of over 100 guests.
Suresh’s father Tej Narayan Singh named three persons in his FIR — Ramadhir Singh, a trade union leader of the region, his son Sashi Singh as the main accused, and his nephew Sanjeev Singh.
A warrant is out for Sashi, who is still absconding. Ramadhir shuttles between Dhanbad and Balia (UP) where he is chairman of the district board.
Today, Sanjeev, general secretary of Janta Mazdoor Sangh (JMS), that is affiliated to Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), arrived at the court with his lawyer, Dilip Singh, and a host of supporters.
He told awaiting newsmen that he was away due to an eye operation and was not aware of the murder of Suresh Singh. “No warrant has been issued against me in connection with the Suresh Singh murder. But, I will cooperate with the Dhanbad police if they seek any information from me about any issue,” he said.
He insisted that he had merely surrendered in connection with two separate cases dating back to 2009.
During campaigning for the 2009 Assembly elections, a clash broke out in Jharia between supporters of Suresh Singh, the then Congress candidate, and Kunti Singh, the BJP nominee, around 1.30pm on November 23. The result was a free-for-all among 1,000 supporters near Katras More.
Suresh Singh’s car was attacked by Kunti Singh’s supporters with hockey sticks and iron rods. The Congress candidate was, however, not in it. He was on a truck with film star Mahima Chaudhary, who had joined the party’s campaign.
Dozens of people from both camps were injured.
Two separate cases, one (334/09) on violating prohibitory orders under sections 144 and 188 of IPC and another (333/09) on the attack on Suresh Singh’s vehicle, were registered at Jharia police station.
In the first case, then police station in-charge Nasrullah Khan named as accused 16 people from both camps —Suresh Singh included.
In the second case, Suresh Singh blamed five persons, including Sanjeev Singh, his uncle Ramadhir Singh and cousin Sashi Singh, for the attack on his vehicle.
Defence lawyer Dilip Singh said since the offences against Sanjeev were under bailable sections of IPC, the court readily granted him bail. Assistant public prosecutor Balram represented the government.
Investigations into the sensational killing of Suresh Singh, a coal trader by profession, has so far not yielded much. After the arrest warrant was issued against Sashi, the police conducted raids at several places in Dhanbad and Balia, but were unable to arrest him.
On the orders of the court, Jharia MLA Kunti Singh’s house was also searched and her son Sanjeev’s property attached on February 3.