Cops dither on Maya minister

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  • Published 9.06.08

Lucknow, June 9: Evidence against Jamuna Nishad, the minister sacked after his men allegedly shot dead a constable, was still being “processed” today as 12 of his supporters were picked up.

“The evidence linking him to the case is being processed. We will proceed when we have gathered enough,” Uttar Pradesh police chief Vikram Singh said.

All those arrested today are village leaders of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in Maharajganj and are accused of leading the raid at the town’s Kotwali police station and opening fire at the constable, Krishnanand Rai.

“We are grilling them and it is through them that we will prove the minister’s culpability,” the police chief said.

The minister’s men were enraged when the police refused to register a rape case against a local leader despite medical reports that didn’t confirm the victim’s allegation.

But Rai’s family has doubts about the magisterial probe ordered on Sunday and has demanded the case be handed over to the CBI.

Satyaprakash, the slain constable’s brother, said the administration would find it difficult to be unbiased because of the involvement of the minister. “In all fairness, the case needs to be handed over to the CBI,” Satyaprakash, a professor in a local college, said this morning.

Relatives said Rai, a father of two daughters and an avid hockey player, often represented the police team. “It was because of his hockey skills that he got the police job. He was their centre-forward,” Satyaprakash said.

Rai, who graduated from a Mau college, was good at cricket, too, while he was in school. “He was known as a crisis manager since the time he was very young,” he added.

Colleagues in the force also spoke highly of Rai’s courage. “He would lead the team that wielded the baton,” said Navneet Tripathi of Maharajganj police station.

On Saturday night, too, he was at the head of the squad resisting attempts by Nishad’s supporters to break into the police station’s storeroom when he was shot at.

“Rai was leading a team of six to prevent the break-in. He was shot twice in the chest by the minister’s goons,” Tripathi said.