Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 8th January decided to recommended a CBI probe into the killing of Purnia MLA Raj Kishore Keshri, who was allegedly stabbed to death by a woman in full public view.
The Bihar government has decided to recommend the CBI to launch an inquiry into the killing of Keshri, sources at the chief minister's office told PTI.
The move followed Kumar's deputy Sushil Kumar Modi urging him in a letter to order a CBI inquiry into the case earlier in the day.
Modi had ruled out a CBI probe into Keshri's murder three days back saying, "There is no possibility of the state government handing over an inquiry into the Keshri murder case to CBI at the moment."Editor's arrest questioned in Bihar legislator murder case
Journalists in Bihar have termed the arrest of Navlesh Pathak, editor of Purnia-based English weekly 'Quisling', in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Raj Kishore Kesri's stabbing case as an attempt to suppress press freedom.
Kesri, a BJP legislator from Purnia assembly constituency, was knifed Jan 4 in his home by a woman teacher Rupam Pathak, who alleged the politician had raped her for over three years.
Navlesh Pathak had first reported about Rupam's sexual harassment complaint.
Police arrested Navlesh Thursday after an FIR was registered in the case against three accused, including Rupam, by Kesri's nephew. A Bihar court Friday sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.
'I was really shocked and failed to understand the arrest of Navlesh Pathak. Is it a crime to report the truth? Police have arrested him under political pressure to suppress his voice,' said Irshadul Haque, Tehelka magazine's senior correspondent in Bihar.
Another journalist Santosh, a reporter for ETV Bihar, said Navlesh's arrest was done in haste.
'Navlesh Pathak is a responsible man. Editing an English weekly newspaper in a small town like Purnia, he dared to expose a big story but was arrested after being named as a mere accused. There are hundreds of prime accused in serious crime cases who are roaming free in Bihar,' he said.
Nikhil Anand, political editor of News India, Bihar said it was shameful that a journalist was put behind bars for exposing a scandal.
'It is unfortunate that leaders who led the anti-Emergency movement during mid-1970s in Bihar are at the helm of affairs... when a ruling party legislator is stabbed to death, it exposes the relation between power and sex. It appears to be the biggest sex scandal involving politicians. Navlesh should be rewarded but he is being punished,' Anand told IANS.
'Bihar media is facing its biggest test in recent times. It is torn between constant praise for the state government led by Nitish Kumar and professional excellence as shown by Pathak,' said Anand S.T. Das, a senior journalist working with Asian Age.
Amit Kumar, chief reporter with Bihar's leading Hindi magazine Tapman, said it was unfortunate that no journalist union had raised its voice against Navlesh's arrest.
'It appears that for journalist unions, Navlesh Pathak's arrest is not an issue,' he said.
A senior journalist who did not wish to be named said that Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, soon after Kesri's killing, shrugged off the editor's arrest by saying that his weekly was a small, insignificant publication.
Earlier, Ruma Pathak, Navlesh's wife, alleged that police was biased in its inquiry and apprehended a threat to him in custody.
The news of Kesri's killing spread rapidly across Bihar, where the BJP is the junior ally of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JD-U)-led government.
Rupam Pathak, around 40, went to Kesri's home in Purnia and stabbed him to death in the presence of a number of people.
'He died soon after being stabbed because his vital organs were badly damaged,' an employee at Kesri's house said.
Rupam was badly beaten up by Kesri's security guards and supporters following the murder. She alleged Kesri, 51, had raped her for over three years, a charge refuted by the party.
A Bihar court Thursday sent Rupam to judicial custody for 14 days, officials said.
IANSITS MORE THAN A MURDER
PURNIA: Whether the local tabloid Quisling's editor Nawalesh Pathak abetted or conspired in the killing of BJP MLA Raj Kishore Kesri is still under probe, but his proximity with the assailant, Rupam Pathak, is now beyond any iota of doubt.
Purnia SP Nayyar Hasnain Khan made this observation while speaking to TOI on Saturday after a prolonged interrogation of the journalist on Friday.
The journalist, who was arrested on Thursday, has since been remanded to judicial custody till January 18.
The SP said Nawalesh Pathak, whose revelation of the charges of sexual exploitation of Rupam allegedly by the BJP MLA and his aide created a political storm some months back, was constantly in touch with the principal of Rajhans Public School and often talked to her over her cellphone.
Nawalesh had a long conversation with Rupam Pathak the night before the killing, i.e. on January 3, barely 12 hours before she stabbed her alleged tormentor Kesri at his residence on Chunapur Road in full public view, police sources said.
Besides, Rupam, who bore serious grudges against Kesri, had gone over to Nawalesh's village home at Bhatotara under Barharakothy block in Purnia district in her school Maruti van only a week before the gruesome killing, it was revealed during the interrogation. Nawalesh, son of a retired judge and brother of a senior government servant, also conceded that Nawalesh often called Raj Kishore Kesri for financial aid to sustain his fledgling tabloid, police sources said.
The journalist's proximity to Rupam was further corroborated by the fact that his wife, Rama Pathak, also worked in the same school, the SP said.
Responding to the allegations levelled by Nawalesh's wife Rama Pathak that the slain BJP MLA was harassing and targeting Rupam's 17-year-old daughter, the SP said the charges were unsubstantiated and that even Rupam had been requesting not to drag her children into the matter.
The arrested journalist had confessed during interrogation that Rupam had filed the protest petition in the court after her retraction only after he prevailed upon her to do so, police sources said.
The SP informed that the school Maruti van in which Rupam went to the MLA's house on the fateful morning has been recovered and seized. The van's driver is, however, absconding, Khan added.
Meanwhile, a forensic team has reached Purnia which will not only visit the site of the incident, but also examine other evidences collected during the investigation, the SP said.
When asked why Kesri's aide Bipin Rai, who had also been charged with sexually abusing Rupam as mentioned in her FIR lodged with the Khazanchihat police station, was not being arrested for which different women organisations were crying hoarse, the SP said, "We have already submitted the report in the court. Action will be taken only after the court's direction."
Meanwhile, Nawalesh Pathak, during his short interaction with the media, remarked, "It is not just a murder case... There are far too many things behind it."
The Times of IndiaNCP seeks Modi's resignation
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has sought the Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Modi's resignation for allegedly making derogative comments against the prime accused Rupam Pathak and trying to influence probe in the BJP MLA Raj Kishore Kesri murder case.
"Modi should resign from the post of deputy chief minister for making derogatory comments against Pathak and seeking to influence the investigation in the matter by giving a character certificate to Kesri," NCP national General Secretary, Tariq Anwar told reporters at Patna.
The deputy chief minister had been casting personal insinuation against Pathak - the main accused in Kesri murder case - ever since the incident took place on Janaury four last and sought to malign her character, he said.
The NCP leader, however, expressed satisfaction that the state government had recommended a CBI probe into the sensational murder case and hoped that the truth would come out to the satisfaction of all.
Anwar sought to blame the Bihar police for its failure to impartially investigate the woman's complaint in the past and said that the BJP MLA's murder might not not have taken place if her grievances could have been sorted out earlier.
The NCP leader, who was in Patna to review his party's performance in the Bihar assembly polls held late last year, said that the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad's projection as the chief ministerial candidate by the RJD-LJP combine was the main reason behind the ruling NDA's landslide victory.
The fear of Lalu worked pyschologically among the electors who closed ranks in the last minute and voted for the NDA to scuttle the remotest chance of the former's comeback in power, Anwar said.
The NCP leader said that he was satisfied with the performance of his party as its vote percentage increased to 2.58 per cent as against about one per cent votes in October 2005 assembly polls.
Anwar warned the NDA Government, headed by the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, against going overboard on its massive victory and said that it should not not forget that the opposition put together had polled 61 per cent votes in the same assembly polls.
The NCP leader also sought to poke holes in the mantra of good governance by the NDA by saying that 41 per cent of its MLAs faced serious criminal cases like that of murder, kidnapping and ransom.
SAMAY LIVERupam Pathak's husband backs sexual abuse claim against BJP MLA
The husband of Rupam Pathak, the woman who stabbed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Bihar's Purnea district Raj Kishore Kesri to death on Tuesday, has backed her allegation that the politician had raped her on different occasions over the last three years.
Buzz up!Ashok Kumar Pathak, who lives here, said that Rupam had lodged an FIR against Kesri at the Khazanchihat Police Station on April 18 last year, but was forced to withdraw it after they received death threats from the MLA.
"As the threats continued and became stronger, Rupam was forced to withdraw the FIR," Ashok said.
Kesri was stabbed to death by Rupam on Tuesday morning when he was meeting visitors at his residence.
Rupam, a teacher in a private school, is currently in hospital in critical condition after she was assaulted by Kesri's bodyguards and others present at the scene of the attack.
Ashok also insisted that his wife's action was an act of revenge, and "an outburst of her pent up anger".
"The killing of the MLA was shocking, but I strongly feel it was an outburst of her pent up anger, which had escalated to such a level that she avenged his sordid crimes on her in such a manner," Ashok said. (ANI)