New Delhi/Lucknow, Sept. 23: The CBI will question Amarmani Tripathi for a week once he is brought to Delhi tomorrow morning to find out if he tried to suppress evidence and threaten witnesses.
The bureau today got his custody till September 30 after the former Uttar Pradesh minister was taken to a Lucknow magistrate.
CBI sources claimed the bureau was on the verge of a breakthrough as the identity of the assassin hired to kill poet Madhumita Shukla had been established. Tripathi would be questioned to help trace the killer or killers.
The bureau is planning to arrest his wife, Madhumani. A CBI team is camping in Tripathi’s hometown of Gorakhpur to collect evidence that could link his wife to the killers.
The sources said the bureau identified the killers from clues provided by Raju Pandey, now an inmate in a Pilibhit jail. The CBI is also checking the veracity of reports that Pandey is a distant relative of Madhumani.
Not just Tripathi and Pandey, the poet’s domestic help, Deshraj, may be questioned.
Deshraj has been claiming that two persons visited Madhumita at her Lucknow flat on May 9, the day of the murder. But evidence so far collected by the CBI shows only one person had called on her. Deshraj is now at the bureau’s office in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri.
The CBI, the sources said, decided to arrest Tripathi on Sunday following information that he was “intimidating” potential witnesses. These witnesses were said to be retracting their statements out of fear of Tripathi, now that he is a member of the ruling Samajwadi Party.
CBI investigations also showed that Tripathi, then a minister in Mayavati’s BSP government, had used his clout with state police to allegedly suppress and tamper with evidence.
The CBI is now looking into the actions of Yagya Narain Dikshit, former station house officer of Manak Nagar police station, Lucknow.
He is alleged to have got Ganga Narain Dikshit, a pandit, to claim that he had performed the marriage ceremony of Madhumita and IIT-Kanpur student Anuj Mishra some time last November or December.
The state CB-CID had questioned Mishra on May 22 at the Indira Gandhi airport as he was about to fly to Singapore for a summer internship.
When questioned, Dikshit, then the head priest of the Hanuman temple in Nishatganj, Uttar Pradesh, was said to have been evasive about the couple’s identity and marriage venue. He reportedly said the marriage was not legal as it was not performed according to the Hindu Marriage Act. Dikshit is absconding.
Local police allegedly did not record as evidence a chit handed to Deshraj by the killers. The chit had “Paper Mill Colony, Kavitri Madhumita Shukla” and her two mobile numbers scribbled on it. The CB-CID had later managed to get hold of the chit after reportedly questioning three senior police officers.
The magistrate today allowed two lawyers to be present with Tripathi during questioning and directed that he should not be tortured.