The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brothers held for magistrate blackmail

Ranchi, June 15: Police today claimed to have cracked the mystery of Sarita Verma’s murder with the arrest of two brothers, Bapi and Devashish, and the impending surrender by absconding executive magistrate A.K. Sharan.

The murder of the young woman and a sleazy CD doing the rounds of newspaper offices here had caused a public furore last weekend, prompting chief minister Arjun Munda to order the suspension of the magistrate.

Confirming that Sharan was being blackmailed by the brothers, Ranchi senior superintendent of police M. V. Rao informed that sleuths had recovered hundreds of sleazy CDs from the houses of the duo in Ranchi and Ramgarh. A large number of incriminating documents, including several demand drafts drawn in favour of fictitious firms, had also been recovered during the raid.

The police gathered evidence, he claimed, against the correspondent of a national television channel who allegedly instigated a woman to say aloud a statement dictated to her in return for money. The correspondent’s role, Rao said, was also being investigated.

The SSP said the magistrate was guilty of sexually exploiting the deceased but played no role in her death. Sarita was actually killed by one of her paramours, Bablu alias Shabir, who wanted her to stop being a sex worker. Having failed to dissuade her, he has confessed killing the woman he loved. Shabir has been arrested and is in judicial custody, claimed Rao. The absconding magistrate, he said, was on his way from Patna to Ranchi and would surrender “any moment”.

The senior SP claimed that the brothers had introduced the young woman to the executive magistrate. During the last two years, he added, the woman was sent to the magistrate at least on five different occasions.

The two brothers, who were apparently close to the magistrate, fell out with Sharan “for some reason” and hatched a plan to blackmail him. They used a different call-girl to trap the magistrate, but the camera failed to record the woman’s face. It was then that they used Sarita and managed to film the escapade. The woman was not aware of the plan, the SSP said.

The executive magistrate’s wife, claimed the SSP, had confirmed that the duo had reached a copy of the CD to his home and demanded a hefty payment for destroying it.

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