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Women soft target of flamboyant politicians - Shwetnisha, Shilpi and many other victims keep alive accusations against leaders from their graves

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 5.01.11
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Pappu Yadav and (above) Karpoori Thakur. Telegraph pictures

Patna, Jan. 4: Accusations of crime against women have been made against Bihar politicians time and again.

The murder of BJP MLA Rajkishore Keshari by Rupam Pathak, who claimed that Keshari and his personal assistant Vivek Rai had raped her, has set the tongues wagging once again.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad was quick to point out that MLAs should keep a safe distance from certain people.

Although deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi defended Keshari, calling Pathak a blackmailer, old-timers recall a number of incidents that have rocked the political circles of the state in the past.

In 1980s, Shwetnisha Trivedi, a telephone operator in the Secretariat, was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Rumours were rife that political heavyweights were behind the murder of Trivedi, also known as Bobby.

The then Patna superintendent of police, Kishore Kunal, had got the body of Shwetnisha exhumed for investigation and there were speculations that a senior politician would be arrested. But all that was a red herring. Nothing happened, only Kunal was transferred out of Patna.

“The unfortunate death of Bobby was later used as a tool to stall the promotion of a senior Congress leader to the position of chief minister,” said a senior politician.

Janata Dal MLA Yogendra Narayan Sardar paid the price when he tried to rape a Dalit girl in the 1990s — he was castrated by the victim in self defence.

The case came to light when Sardar underwent a treatment in Patna. Former chief minister Rabri Devi awarded the girl for resisting rape.

The body of Shilpi Jain and her boyfriend Gautam Singh were found in a garage in Patna in 1999. The grapevine reported that RJD ministers were involved in the crime. Lalu’s brother-in-law and Congress candidate Sadhu Yadav was named in connection with the murder. But, like other cases, nothing happened in this case too. The Central Bureau of Investigation shut the case, concluding that the two committed suicide.

The private lives of the khadi brigade are often not as sparkling clean as their kurtas.

Reports of politicians and even ministers having extramarital affairs are common. Some have been accused of polygamy, others of adultery.

Even senior socialist leader Karpoori Thakur could not escape the charge that he was having a relation with a Nepalese woman, in the 1970s. “In the 1970s, the girlfriend of the chief minister had become so influential that she used to call the shots in his department,” said a former MLA.

The wife of a minister in the NDA-I government had accused her husband of having an extramarital affair with a social worker. She had also lodged an FIR in the Secretariat police station but later withdrew the charges. The minister was also dropped from Cabinet.

Keshari’s case, of course, beats them all. This is the first time an MLA has been murdered, and then accused of rape.