Jamshedpur, Aug. 6: The state police suspect Raja Peter, a notorious criminal of the steel city, to be the mastermind behind the assassination of JD(U) legislator Ramesh Singh Munda at Bundu on July 9.
The personnel engaged in the anti-insurgency operations at Khunti, Bundu and Tamar in the past fortnight have come to this conclusion after interrogating a number of Naxalite sympathisers.
They have also started scanning the contacts of Peter in Tamar and Jamshedpur to zero in on him.
A source said Peter stood the chance of gaining the most from the assassination of Munda, as he was eyeing the Tamar Assembly seat. Peter, who had unsuccessfully contested from Tamar in the 2005 Assembly elections, allegedly had close links with dreaded Maoist rebel Kundan Pahan. The MLA’s murder, Peter allegedly believed, would pave the way for fulfilling his political ambition.
Confirming that Pahan and Peter worked closely during the 2005 Assembly elections, deputy inspector-general (DIG) of police, Ranchi, Nagendra Prasad Singh said the murder of Munda might be a game of Peter.
“Peter has a dubious background in Jamshedpur, where he is known as a criminal even now. But he had suddenly become ambitious and contested the Tamar Assembly seat as an Independent candidate. From the probes and revelations made by the arrested Naxalite supporters, I can say that there is a strong chance of Peter engineering the JD(U) leader’s murder,” said the DIG.
Singh told The Telegraph the suspicion gains ground because Peter stands to gain the most if Assembly bypoll was held for the Tamar seat.
Sources said the deceased JD(U) MLA also had links with rebel leader Pahan, considered to be a terror in the Naxalite-dominated Khunti, Tamar, Bundu and Arki.
“According to a poll pact between Pahan and Munda in 2005, the Naxalite leader was supposed to ensure a poll boycott in a considerable part of Tamar and Bundu. But Pahan ditched Munda and promoted Peter, who was contesting the Assembly seat as an Independent candidate from the same constituency,” said the source.
With Pahan’s support, Peter managed to garner more votes than he expected, but lost by a small margin.
According to the sources, the venomous speech of Munda against Maoists at a public meeting in Tamar on July 8, a day before the assassination took place, gave Peter an opportunity to get rid of his political opponent.