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Murder heat back on Raja Bhaiyya

Lucknow, July 8: A court today ordered the CBI to re-investigate last year’s murder of an Uttar Pradesh DSP in which minister Raja Bhaiyya was an accused, rejecting the agency’s closure report giving the leader a clean chit.

Raja Bhaiyya — or Raghuraj Pratap Singh — had quit after being named in the FIR for the March 2013 murder of Zia-ul-Haq in his Pratapgarh constituency but was reinstated by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav months after the closure report, without waiting for the court’s opinion on the agency’s conclusion.

Today, the minister was not available for comment on the order by the Lucknow CBI court, but an aide said he “was ready for a fresh probe”.

An official spokesperson declined comment when asked if Raja Bhaiyya, an Independent MLA supporting the Akhilesh-led Samajwadi government, would be asked to step down. “It is the discretion of the chief minister. He will take a decision,” the official said.

The case has come back to haunt the Akhilesh government at a time it has drawn fire over a spurt in crime, including last month’s murders of two constables chasing a gang in Firozabad and atrocities on women.

CBI court judge Shraddha Tiwari’s order came on a petition by Parveen Azad, the slain DSP’s wife, asking for the case to be reopened.

Haq was shot dead on March 2 last year when the 38-year-old had rushed to control clashes between two groups after the murder of a village headman in Kunda, Raja Bhaiyya’s Assembly constituency.

Parveen’s FIR named Raja Bhaiyya as the prime suspect and four of his aides among the other accused.

However, the CBI had said in its closure report “there is ample evidence to suggest that Raja Bhaiyya and his four aides were not involved in the murder”. “They were not even present near the spot at the time of Haq’s murder,” said the report filed in the CBI court in August last year. It led to bail for the four aides.

According to the CBI, Haq was killed in retaliatory firing during the skirmishes after the killing of Nanhe Yadav, the headman of Balipur village in Kunda. The agency had also said polygraph tests on Raja Bhaiyya were “inconclusive”.

Today, Parveen’s lawyer Khaliq Ahmad said he was happy with the order. “We are hoping again that justice will be done,” Ahmad added.

After the closure report, Parveen first filed an application in the court seeking a copy of the dossier. She followed that up with a petition to quash the closure report and the CBI’s clean chit to the minister.