Murder accused in MP Assembly, government in trouble

The Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh has run into fresh trouble over its alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The husband of one of the two BSP legislators who prop the minority government is wanted in murder case of a senior Congress leader. Furore over his presence in the Assembly on Friday has embarrassed the ruling party.

Govind Singh Thakur, the husband of BSP legislator Rambai Thakur, was seen sauntering in the Assembly premises though there is an arrest warrant against him for the past four months. An award of Rs 25,000 was announced for his arrest. The government quietly dropped the award last month triggering an outcry within the party and the opposition.

Devendra Chaurasia, a former senior leader of the BSP who had joined the Congress just before the elections, was murdered in March before the Lok Sabha elections. His son Somesh Chaurasia has now accused the Kamal Nath government of protecting his father’s “killer” in a bid to remain in power.

The Congress, which has 114 seats in the state Assembly, enjoys only a slim lead over the BJP’s 108 in the state Assembly. Four independents, two BSP and one Samajwadi Party MLA are backing it.

“I’m an eyewitness to my father’s murder and had recorded before the magistrate that Govind Singh Thakur was among those who killed my father. Now I feel that my father made a mistake by joining the Congress,” said Somesh.

Damoh district police who declared Rs 25,000 reward on Thakur’s arrest dropped it after he submitted several applications saying he was not involved in the murder case.

Govind Singh Thakur is also convicted in a 1998 murder case of Congress leader Rajendra Pathak by district court. He is currently out on bail granted by the state High Court.

Former Minister Vishwas Sarang slammed the government saying: “A murder accused was roaming freely in the Vidhan Sabha despite the heavy security. I could not have happened without the connivance of the police at the behest of the Congress which is at the mercy of the BSP leader.”

Home Minister Bala Bachchan pleaded ignorance even while the television channels had shown Thakur moving about in the Vidhan Sabha. His stock reply was, “We’ll look into the matter.”

Devendra Chaurasia was murdered on March 15, 2019 in Hatta town of Damoh district. Thakur and his aides are accused in the case. Govind Singh Thakur had earlier claimed before newspersons he was not present at the spot of murder.

Rambai had also had raised the issue many times in the Vidhan Sabha saying her husband and close relatives were being falsely implicated in the murder case.



Twenty-year-old murder case against Yogi Adityanath dismissed

A special court has given a major relief to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a 20-year-old murder case as it dismissed the case.

The Allahabad High Court’s special court for MPs and MLAs, on Tuesday, dismissed the 1999 case of murder of head constable Satya Prakash Yadav against the Chief Minister.

Yadav was the personal security officer of then Samajwadi Party leader Talat Aziz who was killed in Maharajganj after Yogi and his supporters reportedly opened fire at Aziz and the supporters.

The CB-CID probing the case had filed a final report which gave a clean chit to Yogi Adityanath.

The CJM court also upheld the final report and the special court has endorsed the CJM’s report dismissing the case of murder against Yogi Adityanath.



CBI court convicts former Gujarat BJP MP in RTI activist’s murder

A Special Court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) here on Saturday convicted former Gujarat BJP MP Dinu Bogha Solanki in the murder of RTI activist Amit Jethva. The court also convicted six others in the case. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on July 11.

Jethva was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court on July 20, 2010, by two assailants. Jethva, had through RTI queries, exposed illegal mining in the Gir forests allegedly involving the former parliamentarian. Gir forests are the only abode of the Asiatic Lion.

Special CBI judge K.M. Dave convicted the seven accused, including Solanki, a former Lok Sabha member from Junagadh constituency in the Saurashtra region.

Solanki was chargesheeted by the CBI as the key conspirator in the murder of the RTI activist. The CBI established that Jethva was killed at Solanki’s behest because he brought to light the illegal mining activities, involving the MP, in the prohibited areas of the Gir forest. The findings were based mainly on call data records (CDR).

The murder case was earlier investigated by Ahmedabad Detection Crime Branch (DCB), which had chargesheeted six persons — Shiva Solanki, a nephew of Dinu Solanki, Shailesh Pandya, Bahadursinh Vadher, Panchan G. Desai, Sanjay Chauhan and Udaji Thakore. But the DCB gave a clean chit to all the accused.

Jethva’s father, Bhikhabhai Jethva, had then moved the Gujarat High Court and filed a petition seeking a fair probe by the CBI into the investigation.

After more than 100 out of the total 195 witnesses turned hostile, the Supreme Court ordered a re-investigation in the high profile case.

CBI Judge Dave twice sought security cover for himself and his family as he was presiding over the sensational murder case. Even Bhikhabhai Jethva had sought protection, but Justice S.H. Vohra of the Gujarat High Court had disposed off the petition ruling that this was not required.



Bhopal, Man arrested for minor’s rape and murder in Bhopal

The police on Monday arrested Vishnu Prasad (35), the accused in the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl from Kamla Nagar locality in Bhopal. The arrest was made in Khandwa, about 275 kms from Bhopal.

The police claim family members gave away Vishnu’s location. The police released a 10-second sketchy video that shows him weakly answering questions about his name and vocation. Police said Vishnu belongs to Khandwa.

There has been a spate of crimes against children over the past few days. A five-year-old girl was raped and killed in Ujjain on Friday and a 16-year-old boy was arrested in Jabalpur on Sunday for raping another four-year-old.

The police have promised to fast track the legal process to ensure speedy justice in the case. Chief Minister Kamal Nath has assured that the charge sheet would be presented within 48 hours and conviction would be ensured in 30 days. The state government has also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family.

Police said they had announced a reward of Rs 20,000 for tracing the accused. Twenty teams were formed to locate him.

Public joined the girl’s relatives in organising a traffic jam near the Kamla Nagar police station. The child was missing around 8 p.m. on Saturday night and her body was recovered from a nearby drain in the early hours of Sunday. There were cuts on her face apparently caused by blades.

The incident reflected the insensitive face of the police. When the girl’s parents reached Kamla Nagar police station on Saturday night, Assistant Sub-inspector Dev Singh refused to register the case. A constable demanded money from the harried couple.

Later when the police did visit the victim’s house, they told the parents the girl must have eloped with someone. The team returned without searching the location.

At around 11.30 p.m., municipal councillors and neighbours informed senior officers, forcing the police into action. At around 5.15 a.m., the family found the body of the girl in a gutter near her house. Post-mortem report said the child was strangulated after rape. Seven policemen, including the ASI, have been suspended for negligence.

Leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava demanded the resignation of the state Home Minister and the Chief Minister. He said the two incidents of child rape and murder in two days reflect a major failure on the part of the six-month-old Congress government.
Bhargava’s comment could be dismissed as rhetoric. But the state government can’t wish away some questions.

Through the whole sequence of events, one has not heard from an important political functionary, the Minister for Women and Child Development, Imarti Devi. The Minister hasn’t had any meeting either with the officials of her own Department or with other organisations. The state Human Rights Commission has also kept quiet.

The Minister’s only statement during the past week was to demand the elevation of her mentor Jyotiraditya Scindia as the state Congress President. Imarti Devi was not able to read the oath during the swearing-in ceremony. Her performance as a Minister is an embarrassment for the government.

The BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan had in December 2017 made a legal provision for execution of the guilty in cases of rape of children under 12 years. As many as 26 people were sentenced to death after the law was passed. But all the cases are now pending with the High Court, the Supreme Court and the President.



Ramalingam murder case; NIA conducts searches in TN

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday carried out searches in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli and Kumbakonam in connection with the murder of PMK functionary Ramalingam, officials said.

The NIA officials searched the office of Popular Front of India (PFI) in Tiruchirapalli and also the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) at Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district.

Ramalingam had questioned conversion attempts made by some Muslims in Thirubhuvanam locality in Thanjavur in February. He was later murdered by a gang.

The Tamil Nadu Police had registered a case, carried out a probe and arrested 11 persons. The probe was later transferred to the NIA.



Rohit Shekhar’s wife Apoorva held for his murder

The Crime Branch probing the mysterious murder of Rohit Shekhar, on Wednesday arrested his wife Apoorva from his residence in South Delhi, an officer said.

Additional Commissioner of Police Rajiv Ranjan told IANS, “We have arrested Apoorva with the help of scientific evidence and FSL report. She confessed that she has murdered her husband and cited unhappy marriage as the reason.”

“She entered Rohit’s room on April 16 and executed the crime. She later destroyed the evidences. All this happened within one-and-half hours,” said the officer, adding that she initially tried to mislead the Crime Branch team.



Christchurch carnage suspect charged with murder

An Australian man, who is the main suspect in the massacre of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, on Saturday appeared in a court here where he was been charged with murder.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, appeared before the Christchurch district court dressed in a white prison jumpsuit, handcuffed and barefoot. He did not speak but appeared to make a white supremacist sign with his hands, the Guardian reported.

He has been charged with one count of murder. Judge Paul Kellar did not reveal the victim’s name on grounds of undue hardship to his family.

He was remanded in custody without a plea and is due appear in court again on April 5.

After Tarrant left the court, Judge Kellar said that while “there is one charge of murder brought at the moment, it is reasonable to assume that there will be others”.

Tarrant, who grew up in the Australian town of Grafton, had been living in the Dunedin, about 360 km south of Christchurch.

New Zealand police closed the Christchurch court to the public over security concerns, but the media was able to attend.

Australian police are investigating Tarrant’s connections around Grafton.

Before his appearance at the court, New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush said Tarrant had been charged with one count of murder, with other charges to follow.

“I want to reassure all New Zealanders that we are doing absolutely everything in our power to respond to this attack, and deploying all available resources in communities across New Zealand,” Bush said.

Tarrant was one of three people arrested in connection with the shootings at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid on Friday. The other two remain in custody but their role in the shootings remains unclear, CNN said.

A fourth person who had been taken into custody was later determined to be an armed bystander who wanted help police.

Also on Saturday, Prime Jacinda Ardern, while speaking at the Christchurch Canterbury Refugee Centre, showed solidarity with the nation’s Muslim community, saying “this is not the New Zealand people know”.

In her 40-minute address, she also spoke about the importance of reuniting relatives with their loved ones “as quickly as possible”, and said that bodies were still being removed from the Al Noor mosque – the site of the first attack.

She added that financial support would be made available to those who had lost someone on whom they were financially dependent.

Ardern said Tarrant had five guns and a firearms licence, adding: “Our gun laws will change.”

A total of 48 people were wounded in the shootings.

India, Bangladesh and Indonesia all say some of their citizens were killed in the shooting and others are unaccounted for.

Friday’s killing was a terrorist attack that appeared orchestrated for the social media. The brutal shootings were previewed on an infamous Internet message board and then graphically live-streamed on Facebook.

An 87-page manifesto, found by authorities after it was posted online, was filled with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ideas.

According to the latest census figures, Muslims make up about 1.1% of New Zealand’s population of 4.25 million.

Numbers rose sharply as New Zealand took in refugees from various war-torn countries since the 1990s.



After Pakistani prisoner’s murder, four officials in trouble

The Rajasthan government has suspended two jail officials and acted against two others after a Pakistani prisoner was murdered by Indian inmates in the Jaipur Central Jail, officials said on Thursday.

The government has put Jail Superintendent Sanjay Yadav and Jailor Jagdish Sharma under Awaiting Posting Orders (APO) category and suspended two officials with immediate effect, Inspector General of Police Rupinder Singh said.

Rakesh Mohan Sharma has been appointed the new jail Superintendent.

Singh said that Vaidhyanath Sharma, in charge of cell number 10 where the Pakistani, Shakarulla, was lodged and murdered, has been suspended along with the warder of the cell, Ramswaroop.

Security has also been enhanced in other prisons in Rajasthan where Pakistanis are jailed, an official said.

The Pakistani prisoner was allegedly murdered by group of fellow prisoners on Wednesday after an argument over a TV programme, officials said.

The incident comes in wake of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan over the terror attack in Kashmir which left 40 CRPF troopers dead.

After Pakistani prisoner's murder, four officials in trouble





INC seeks CBI probe into murder; names CPI-M MLA, ex-MLA

The Congress on Thursday named a CPI-M legislator and a former CPI-M MLA as key links in the murder of two Youth Congress activists in Kerala’s Kasargode district.

Addressing reporters here, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the killer group, after committing the murder on Sunday, first reached the local CPI-M party office.

“A local CPI-M leader, A. Peethambaran, has been arrested and now the CPI-M is trying to blame him for the crime.

“We do not have any faith in Kerala Police and we demand that the CBI should probe the case. The roles of CPI-M MLA K. Kunhiraman and former MLA K.V. Kunhiraman have to be probed in detail,” said Chennithala.

“The government has transferred the Kasargode Superintendent of Police, A. Sreenivas, who began the probe. Even if this transfer was done as part of the Election Commission guidelines, they could have retained him in the probe,” he said.

Youth Congress workers Krupesh, 19, and Joshy, 24, were hacked to death on Sunday by three motorcycle-borne men. While Krupesh died at the Kasaragode district hospital, Joshy succumbed to injuries on his way to a medical facility in Mangaluru, Karnataka.

Krupesh’s father Krishnan told the media in Kasargode on Thursday that he has no faith in the Kerala Police.

“Peethamabaran alone cannot do this crime. We are certain there are others behind it. We do not have faith in the present probe and we have decided to move the court seeking a CBI probe. This crime is a well planned out by the CPI-M,” said Krishnan.

Meanwhile, CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan downplayed the demand for a CBI probe.

“If for every case the demand for a CBI probe is asked, then it’s best that the Kerala Police be disbanded. The police probe has just begun. If people have any evidence against the CPI-M, it should be handed to the police and not to the media,” he said.



Shutdown in Kerala over Youth Congress activists’ murder

The Youth Congress in Kerala on Monday started a state-wide dawn to dusk shutdown in protest of murder of two of its activists allegedly by CPI-M workers in Kasargode last night.

At a few places the demonstrators pelted stones at state-owned buses and forcefully closed down shops. However, private vehicles were found plying smoothly.

Shops here in the capital district were, however, found functioning normally ahead of the famed Attukal Pongala festival to be held on Wednesday.

Congress President Rahul Gandhi earlier tweeted the party would not rest till the murderers were brought to justice.

The High Court was expected to take a suo motto cognizance against those who called the shutdown as it was against the court’s directive.

On January 7, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice A.K. Jayasankaran Nambiar had passed an interim order directing that if any group wished to call for a shutdown, it should give seven days notice.

President of Youth Congress Dean Kuriakose told the media that he would deal with the issue legally.

The state-wide shutdown has been called after the Congress alleged that it was the Communist Party of India-Marxist goons who have hacked Krupesh, 19, and Joshy, 24.

Three assailants had came on motorcycles and seriously injured the two, the Congress workers have told the police.

While Krupesh died at the Kasargode district hospital, Joshy died on the way to a hospital in Mangaluru, in neighbouring Karnataka.

Addressing the media in Kasargode earlier in the day, district police chief A. Sreenivas said that a special team has been formed to probe the crime.

There has been a sense of rising animosity between the youth wings of the two parties in Kasargode for sometime now, reports said.

The Kasargode district CPI-M leadership though has gone on record stating it has no role in the murders.

Top Congress leaders including state’s Congress chief Mullapally Ramachandran, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, General Secretary K.C. Venugopal have all reached Kannur, where the two bodies were taken for autopsy.



Rahul condemns murder of 2 Youth Congress activists in Kerala

Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday condemned the murder of two Youth Congress activists in Kerala.

“The brutal murder of two members of our Youth Congress family in Kasargod, Kerala, is shocking. The Congress prty stands in solidarity with the families of these two young men and I send them my deepest condolences. We will not rest till the murderers are brought to justice,” he tweeted.

The activists – Krupesh, 19, and Joshy, 24 – were attacked by three assailants who came on motorcycles. While Krupesh breathed his last at the Kasargode district hospital, Joshy died en route to a medical facility in Mangaluru, Karnataka.

The Kasargode unit of the Congress has called for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the district on Monday to protest the murder.

While the state Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran alleged that CPI-M workers were involved in the murder, the Left party, has denied any involvement.



Congress accuses CPI-M of two Youth Congress activists’ murder

Two Youth Congress activists were murdered by alleged CPI-M workers in Kerala’s Kasargode on Sunday night, state Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran said. The Left party, however, denied any involvement.

The two Youth Congress activists – Krupesh, 19, and Joshy, 24 – were attacked by three assailants who came on motorcycles and seriously injured. While Krupesh breathed his last at the Kasargode district hospital, Joshy died while being taken to a hospital in Mangaluru in neighbouring Karnataka.

The Kasargode unit of the Congress has called for a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in the district on Monday to protest the murder.

Addressing the media at Kochi after hearing about the incident, Ramachandran said that this murder was a planned one executed by the goons attached to the CPI-M.

“Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who also holds the Home portfolio should explain this ghastly incident. This is not acceptable to the Kerala society… its high time that the CPI-M directs its cadres to lay down arms,” he said.

Kasargode district Congress president K. Hakkim told the media that the incident occurred near Periya near here.

“This is a Kannur model murder that was neatly planned and executed in the dark,” he alleged.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media that the CPI-M is using power to eliminate its political opponents and this will be strongly opposed by the Congress.

But Kannur district CPI-M secretary M.V. Balakrishnan told the media that his party has no role in this incident.

“We strongly condemn this incident and our party has no role in this. We want the police to quickly arrest the people behind this,” he said.



Congress, BJP demand action against CPI-M leaders chargesheeted in murder case

After the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday filed a chargesheet against two Kerala CPI-M leaders in connection with a 2012 murder case, the Congress and the BJP on Wednesday demanded immediate action by the party against the accused leaders.

P. Jayarajan, the CPI-M District Secretary in Kannur, was charged under Sections 302 (murder) and 124(b) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), while T.V. Rajesh, CPI-M MLA from Kalliasseri in Kannur district, was charged under Section 124(b).

The chargesheet was filed before the Tellichery Court on Monday and the details were made available to the media on Wednesday.

Jayarajan and Rajesh were arrested and jailed following the murder of Abdul Shukoor, a 22-year-old Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) activist, in Kannur district in February 2012. But they were released on bail later that year. The chargesheet states that the two CPI-M leaders had a crucial role in Shukoor’s murder.

The Leader of Opposition, Congress’s Ramesh Chennithala, told reporters that the CPI-M often talks about probity in politics, and should now put it into practice.

“The party should remove Jayarajan from his post and force Rajesh to quit the Assembly. But Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s silence on the matter is a clear indication that they are doing their best to save the two leaders. While the veteran V.S. Achuthanandan said let the law take its course, party Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s response shows that the law would take its course just the way his party thinks,” said Chennithala.

State BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai told the media that when the incident took place, the state had a Congress-led government and the police acted in a manner that the accused could get out of the noose easily.

“But the CBI acted in a different manner and found out about the involvement of the CPI-M leaders in the murder. The CPI-M should ensure appropriate action against the two leaders,” said Pillai.

Dismissing the Opposition’s demands, State Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan said it has now become a habit to tarnish the image of the party by registering false and baseless cases against its leaders.

“The CPI-M does not need advice from others on how to go about things. We know how to tackle all this as we have always handled such cases of victimisation very well in the past,” said Jayarajan.

Shukoor was killed near Thaliparamba in Kannur district in 2012. The investigators claimed that he was murdered because he had allegedly blocked and attacked the vehicle in which the two accused CPI-M leaders were travelling. His murder occurred within hours of the attack on their vehicle.





Saudi Minister Adel al-Jubeir dismisses Khashoggi murder claims

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir has rejected the attempt to link Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He told reporters in Washington that the claims were “baseless” and those involved will be held accountable, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, citing Al Arabiya TV.

Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul in October 2018, and a number of top Saudi officials involved in the case were arrested.

The Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud also ordered to re-structure the intelligence authority. Last month, Saudi Public Prosecution demanded capital punishment against five out of 11 suspects in the murder case.

The operation wasn’t authorised, Al-Jubeir affirmed, highlighting “no order was given to conduct this operation.”




Kejriwal orders immediate appointment of prosecutor in journalist murder case

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday asked the Chief Secretary to ensure immediate appointment of a special public prosecutor for the murder trial of journalist Soumya Viswanathan.

“It has been brought to my notice and the government will ensure appointment of a good lawyer as special public prosecutor in this case. Show cause notice will be issued to the public prosecutor concerned for any negligence,” Kejriwal said.

The Chief Minister gave the direction after the late journalist’s parents pointed to the absence of a public prosecutor during the past few dates of hearing in the court, the government said in a statement.

Calling it “absolutely shocking”, the Chief Minister asked the Chief Secretary to immediately issue a show cause notice to the public prosecutor for skipping the hearings and not taking the duty seriously.

In 2008, Viswanathan, 25, was found shot dead in her car in Vasant Kunj, Delhi.