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RJD leader in murder dock

Patna, Dec. 2: The RJD suffered another major setback today when one of its seniormost leaders, Vijay Krishna, was convicted by a Patna court on charges of murder.

Krishna, a former MP who defeated Nitish Kumar from Barh in 2004, is the national general secretary of the party and also its national spokesperson.

The RJD leader was pronounced guilty along with his son Chanakya, his servant Sagan and bodyguard Umesh Singh for the murder of transporter Satyendra Singh on the night of May 23, 2009.

Immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict, Vijay Krishna and his servant Gagan, who were on bail, were taken into custody. The other two accused are already in jail.

The verdict was delivered by additional district and sessions judge Nand Kumar Srivastava. Earlier, arguing the case, the prosecution lawyer, Jai Prakash Singh, demanded capital punishment for father and son, describing the killing of Satyendra Singh as a “cold-blooded murder, pre-planned and well-calculated”.

The quantum of punishment will be announced by the court on December 4.

On May 23, 2009, Vijay Krishna called Satyendra Singh at 83 MLA flat and from there took him in his SUV to Jhula Apartment, SK Puri, where Krishna owns a flat. Once there, Krishna and Satyendra Singh talked in the presence of Chanakya and during the conversation, Chanakya shot dead the transporter. His body was packed in an iron trunk and taken to Gandhi Setu from where it was thrown into the river Ganga.

Police arrested Gagan and Umesh Singh on May 31, 2009, and on the basis of their confessional statement, recovered the body of Satyendra Singh with the help of the Navy.

It was pointed out that Krishna kept misleading the police and the family of the deceased by declaring that Satyendra Singh got down from his (Krishna’s vehicle) at Boring Canal Road.

Krishna, who was absconding, was arrested from Faridabad in August 2009 while his son surrendered in January 2010.

Satyendra Singh’s wife, Laxmi Singh, had alleged that Krishna and her husband had quarrelled over “political money”.

The blow to Krishna, close on the heels of the conviction of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, is an embarrassment for the party. “Krishna was a known face of the party and was an articulate speaker. His conviction has come at a bad time. The party’s image will take a beating,” said an RJD leader.

Krishna attained the stature of a “giant killer” when he defeated Nitish Kumar in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls from Barh, a parliamentary seat which doesn’t exist any longer owing to delimitation. A product of the JP movement of the 1970s, Krishna and Nitish were considered close until the latter parted ways with Lalu Prasad in 1995 to form the Samata Party. Krishna threw his weight behind Lalu Prasad and became Bihar’s jail minister.

After 2009, Krishna parted ways with Lalu to join hands with Nitish. However, on May 23 the same year, he got involved in the murder of Satyendra Singh. When he came out on bail, he rejoined the RJD.

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