Ex-MP’s close aide quizzed for Bi­har jour­nal­ist’s mur­der Drought tourism for ne­tas in Marath­wada

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NEWS - Av­inash Ku­mar ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Suren­dra P Gan­gan suren­dra.gan­gan@hin­dus­tan­times.com Charul Shah charul.shah@hin­dus­tan­times.com

A close aide of jailed RJD leader Mo­ham­mad Sha­habud­din was ques­tioned on Satur­day over the killing of a se­nior jour­nal­ist in Bi­har’s Siwan town, with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion fo­cus­ing on a pos­si­ble po­lit­i­cal mo­tive.

Ra­jdeo Ran­jan, 42, the head of Hindi daily Hin­dus­tan in Siwan, was shot dead by uniden­ti­fied men on Friday. Po­lice found two CCTV cam­eras near the spot were mal­func­tion­ing for the past two days. Footage from a third CCTV was be­ing scanned.

It’s a flood of VIPs in Marath­wada’s Latur dis­trict — among the re­gions hit worst by the se­vere wa­ter scarcity fac­ing the state.

In the past few weeks, three for­mer CMs, a for­mer deputy CM and two party chiefs have made their way to the parched dis­trict.

And, the show is set to get big­ger, with the rul­ing Bharatiya Janata Party or­gan­is­ing a mas­sive rally on Sunday, which all its 22 MPs will at­tend.

So far, for­mer CMs Ashok Cha­van, Prithvi­raj Cha­van and Narayan Rane, for­mer deputy CM Ajit Pawar, MNS chief Raj Thack­eray, Shiv Sena pres­i­dent Ud­dhav Thack­eray and lead­ers of the op­po­si­tion, Dhanan­jay Munde and Rad­hakr­ishna Vikhe-Patil, have vis­ited Latur, Os­man­abad and Beed, to speak to vil­lagers and slam the state gov­ern­ment for poor re­lief work.

Armed with the claim by the Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency that Ma­ha­rash­tra Anti-Ter­ror­ism Squad (ATS) of­fi­cers may have planted RDX on sus­pects booked for the 2008 Male­gaon blast, ac­cused Sud­hakar Chaturvedi is now plan­ning to re­vive an old pe­ti­tion in the Bom­bay high court and seek ac­tion against the ATS of­fi­cers.

In Fe­bru­ary 2013, Chaturvedi filed a writ pe­ti­tion be­fore the Bom­bay high court, seek­ing the con­sti­tu­tion of spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion team (SIT) to probe ATS of­fi­cers who had in­ves­ti­gated the case. Chaturvedi’s pe­ti­tion al­leged that he the ATS had framed him and de­tained him il­le­gally.

Ac­cord­ing to the ATS, Chaturvedi was a mem­ber of Ab­hi­nav Bharat, an or­gan­i­sa­tion floated by Lt Col Prasad Puro­hit, and par­tic­i­pated in var­i­ous con­spir­acy meet­ings. ATS of­fi­cials had, af­ter ar­rest­ing him, searched the rented house in which he lived. They claimed they found in it a det­o­na­tor, a gunny bag and traces of RDX and am­mo­nium ni­trate. A re­port from the Foren­sic Sci­ence Lab­o­ra­tory said the traces of chem­i­cals from the flat matched sam­ples col­lected from the blast site.

But the NIA’s charge sheet claims that af­ter Chaturvedi’s ar­rest, a se­nior ATS of­fi­cer vis­ited and en­tered his house in the ab­sence of wit­nesses on Novem­ber 3, 2008, weeks be­fore the of­fi­cial search of his house on Novem­ber 25.

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