Lucknow, Nov. 15: Rattled by the Uttar Pradesh government’s continued support to jailed former minister Amarmani Tripathi, the CBI has decided to go after those trying to bail him out in the Madhumita Shukla murder case.
The bureau today arrested a state police officer, sub-inspector Yadgya Narain Dixit, on the charge of destroying evidence and misleading the investigation to divert attention from Tripathi.
The bureau also issued a notice to minister of state Shyam Narain Tewari to appear before it in connection with the murder. It suspects he helped Amarmani Tripathi to destroy evidence.
Dixit — who was in charge of the Manaknagar police post in Lucknow when the Hindi poet was murdered in May this year — had allegedly fabricated documents and tutored false witnesses to testify that Madhumita was already married.
The arrest has sent shock waves through the capital, where Tripathi continues to enjoy considerable clout after switching loyalties from Mayavati’s Bahujan Samaj Party to chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.
Mulayam Singh has even said that while he would not interfere with the probe, he is “grateful to Tripathi for saving Uttar Pradesh from anarchy”.
CBI sources said the sub-inspector’s arrest was just the beginning and more arrests might follow as a number of state officials had gone out of their way to help Tripathi. “Apart from sub-inspector Dixit, we are investing the role of over a dozen state officials and two journalists who tried to mislead the investigation by destroying murder evidence or forging documents to derail the probe,” a CBI official said.
Sources said the CBI was pushed into action by the manner in which Tripathi was allowed to roam free in Lucknow by local policemen and meet senior bureaucrats and politicians yesterday to lobby for his cause.
Following the CBI court’s permission to Tripathi to attend the ongoing Assembly session, the former minister was yesterday taken out of jail and escorted to the Vidhan Bhavan. After the session, he left in a red-beacon fitted car for the secretariat annexe to meet Mulayam Singh.
“I may be in trouble, but I am not helpless. I have powerful friends who have promised to stand by me,” the former BSP minister said.
The chief minister’s office refused to comment on Tripathi’s visit. But the CBI has decided to make an issue of it. “We will protest to the court about the manner in which Tripathi was allowed to leave the Vidhan Bhavan and meet people,” a CBI official said.
The court’s order permitting Tripathi to attend the session had specifically said he was to be taken out of jail to attend the session and then escorted back every day.
The CBI has already approached Allahabad High Court against the CBI court’s order. The petition is to come up for hearing on November 17. The bureau had earlier lodged a formal complaint with state authorities, alleging that officials were allowing Tripathi to use a cellphone inside the Lucknow district jail and people who were visiting him were not being checked.
A CBI official claimed that the murder was now almost solved after the arrest of the alleged killers and the recovery of the murder weapon and it was just a question of time when they lay their hands on the minister’s wife, Madhumani.
CBI teams have intensified raids in Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Rampur and other places where, the sleuths believe, Madhumani could be hiding. They are also checking reports that she has gone over to Nepal.
“We have served several notices and told her family members in Gorakhpur yesterday that evading the CBI would not help Madhumani and she must help the CBI if she was not involved,” the bureau’s deputy inspector-general of police, Lok Nath Behra, said.