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CM’s ‘Janab’ arrested for murder

Gaya, April 4: A former councillor now in the JD(U) and addressed as “Janab Javed Khan saheb” by Nitish Kumar at an election rally in Gaya was arrested within hours on murder charges dating back a year.

Not only was Javed Khan, 45, present on the dais, he was photographed holding arms with other party leaders, the chief minister included in the chain, in a show of solidarity.

The rally ended around 4.30pm and Khan was taken into custody around 7pm from the civil lines area. He was produced before the chief judicial magistrate, who held court at his residence, later in the evening and then sent to Gaya Central Jail.

Nitish’s public meeting was held this evening on the railway ground in Gaya town, about 100km south of Patna. The area is surrounded by Muslim-dominated localities such as Aliganj, Karimganj and New Karimganj.

Gaya senior superintendent of police (SSP) Nishant Kumar Tiwary confirmed the arrest of Javed Khan. The officer said Khan was arrested on the basis of a warrant issued by the court against him in a murder case lodged with the Magadh Medical police station last year. The case pertains to the murder of a property dealer, Naushad Khan, in April last year. Javed is among three persons named accused in the FIR.

Khan has been in the JD(U) for the past two years and is also the district minority cell chief of the party. He has been visible in all programmes of the chief minister in Gaya, which votes on April 10, the first day of polling in Bihar.

Khan spoke at the rally before Nitish arrived and praised the chief minister for working for the minorities and for snapping relations with the BJP over Narendra Modi.

Nitish, who reached the rally venue around 3pm, began his speech around 15 minutes later. He addressed all those present on the dais, among them the former councillor, whom he courteously described as “Janab Javed Khan Saheb”.

Before Nitish began speaking, the leaders on the stage posed for a photo-op, their hands held aloft together. Javed Khan also placed a cap on Nitish’s head.

Nitish has a known distaste for such pictures. His aversion to Modi became public knowledge in 2010 when the Gujarat chief minister sent Nitish into a rage in 2010 by advertising his cash relief for Kosi flood victims in Bihar newspapers during the BJP’s Patna plenary that July. The full-page ads also carried pictures of Modi’s famous Nitish hand grab from an NDA rally in Ludhiana during the 2009 Lok Sabha campaign.

Modi’s ad blitz not merely embarrassed Nitish’s efforts to project himself as a “secular” leader keen to protect and promote Bihar’s 15-16 per cent Muslims, the chief minister saw in it an “unseemly” slight to Bihari pride. In the immediate aftermath, Nitish withdrew a dinner invitation to the BJP brass gathered in Patna. Days later he made a public show of returning Modi’s flood relief aid.

Khan’s presence on the stage with the chief minister did raise eyebrows among those who knew about the arrest warrant pending against the former councillor.

His supporters say Khan surrendered before the police. However, Gaya police chief Tiwary stressed that the police had arrested Khan by executing the warrant of arrest.

The JD(U) sought to brush aside the arrest of Khan and the Gaya unit of the party strongly defended him. JD(U) district president Abhay Kushwaha said Khan had appealed for a “fair probe” by the CID. “He has been falsely implicated in the Naushad murder case. But he was not aware of the warrant against him. On getting information about the warrant, he himself went to the police,” Kushwaha said.