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Moneybags to murder fugitive

Anil Kumar Sharma

Patna/Lakhisarai, Aug. 3: One of the richest contestants in this year’s general election is being hunted by police after being accused of having an educator murdered to try and grab a school’s sprawling property.

Real estate baron Anil Kumar Sharma, who lost from Jehanabad on a Janata Dal (United) ticket, had declared assets of Rs 850 crore in his Lok Sabha election affidavit.

He and six others have been named in an FIR by the widow of the murdered Kumar Sharad Chandra, former secretary of the Balika Vidyapeeth in Lakhisarai, 125km east of Patna.

The realtor, chief managing director of the Amrapali Group, has denied the allegation in a media release but Lakhisarai superintendent of police Ashok Kumar Singh said the “absconding” businessman would be arrested.

Anil was a part of the 15-member trust that ran the all-girl residential school but claims to have resigned. Chandra’s widow Usha accuses him of ousting her husband from trusteeship sometime ago.

“Anil has been eyeing the school’s property for a long time,” she alleged.

The realtor’s media statement claimed he had resigned from the trust on March 9 this year.

“I have been falsely framed and the allegations of conspiracy against me in the murder of Chandra are completely false and ill-motivated,” it added.

Chandra was shot around 6am on Saturday as he sat on his veranda reading a newspaper. The police said contract killers could be involved.

The murder comes two days before a team from the Delhi headquarters of the trust, which runs several schools in the country, was to visit the Lakhisarai institute to look into trusteeship disputes, a school source said.

Usha said the dispute between Anil and her husband had cropped up after the businessman opened an engineering institute, the Amrapali Engineering College, in the school compound in 2009.

Chandra’s eldest daughter Sughandha Sharma said Anil had also established a separate managing committee that usurped the school’s management sidetracking her father, who moved Patna High Court.

Sughandha said Chandra had recently won the case but could not produce documents to corroborate this.

A school source said two groups had clashed in the compound last month.

Singh, the Lakhisarai SP, said the police had been able to arrest one of the seven accused: Praveen Kumar, school treasurer and trust member. He said a team had been formed to arrest the rest, who are all in hiding.

Besides Anil and Praveen, those named as accused are school principal Anita Sharma and fellow trust members Shyam Sunder Singh, Shambhu Sharan Singh, Rajendra Prasad Singhania and Radheshyam Singh.

Narendra Kumar, a social activist in Lakhisarai, said: “Chandra was very energetic. Balika Vidyapeeth became popular in the field of promoting female education because of him.”

Before contesting the Lok Sabha polls, Anil had tried his luck in Rajya Sabha elections too.