The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poetess’ death shadow on minister

Lucknow, May 10: The murder of a poetess here has brought alive memories of the Shivani Bhatnagar case, investigations into which had thrown up names of senior officials and Union ministers.

Names and contact numbers of several senior state ministers, bureaucrats and two journalists have been found on the telephone book of 24-year-old Madhumita Shukla, who was shot dead in her Paper Mill Colony residence yesterday by two youth apparently known to her.

Police are yet to determine a motive behind the murder, but the autopsy report has confirmed that the unmarried woman was six months pregnant.

Shukla’s telephone diary, found in her room, revealed her links with top politicians, mafia dons, journalists and bureaucrats. The phonebook of her mobile contains six numbers of a mafia don who is now a BSP minister of state.

The police said the telephone records indicate that she used to call the minister several times a day. The numbers of the two journalists also figure on the list of those frequently called.

Shukla used to live with her sister Nidhi, who was not home when the murder took place. Special superintendent of police Anil Agarwal said her 10-year-old servant, Deshraj, told the police that two young men called on Shukla around 3 pm yesterday. One of them, Satya Prakash, was a frequent visitor.

Shukla took the two men into her room and asked Deshraj to prepare tea. After he served tea and came out of the room, Satya Prakash bolted the door from inside. When the door did not open for quite some time, Deshraj peeped in through a ventilator and saw his mistress lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

The terrified boy tried to run out of the house but found the door locked from outside. Deshraj waited at a window till he saw a passer-by and asked her to let him out. He ran to a PCO to inform an acquaintance, who contacted the police in the evening.

The police broke open the door and found Shukla had been shot dead, a single bullet piercing her heart. However, Deshraj and the neighbours said they had not heard any gunshot.

The teacups on the table lay untouched, making it clear that Shukla was shot soon after Prakash bolted the door from inside. The assailants, Agarwal said, could have used a firearm with a silencer.

“Last year, we had met a senior BJP leader and requested him to stop the nuisance the Shukla sisters were creating in the area. Government cars with red and blue beacon lights would arrive at their residence every evening. Our woes multiplied when the mafia don became a minister. If we protested, we would be threatened and so we kept quiet,” said a resident of the colony.

The police seem to be wary of admitting to relations between the poetess and the minister, but officials said whenever Shukla had a problem, the minister would flood them with calls.

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