News by YKA Staff:
The Supreme Court’s decision today to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the murder of Bahujan Samaj Party leader Raju Pal in 2005 in Uttar Pradesh is likely to at least make political parties think twice before giving tickets to candidates with criminal antecedents.
A bench comprising Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Amitava Roy, while allowing the plea of Pooja Pal, wife of slain leader, asked the probe agency to conclude the probe in the case preferably within six months.
UP is known for several such criminals, or Dons in local parlance, who have continued to enjoy political patronage despite grave charges against them.
Among the most notorious of UP’s so-called Dons is Raja Bhaiya who has a reputation of allegedly feeding his rivals to crocodiles. He won the last assembly elections handsomely and was appointed as the minister of jails in the state.
Atiq Ahmed is not very far behind when it comes to a fearsome reputation. In fact, he had the maximum number of criminal charges on him out of all the candidates who contested the 2012 UP assembly elections. However, he lost the election from Allahabad West to Pooja Pal.
On February 3, 2006, the apex court had issued notice to the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government and CBI in connection with the murder of the BSP legislator who represented Allahabad West constituency in the UP assembly.
The court had also issued notice to then Samajwadi Party MP Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf Ahmed, who were arrested by the police on charge of murder.
In her plea, Pooja Pal had sought a probe into the case by an independent agency citing threat to her life as well as to Raju’s mother from the Samajwadi Party.
The court had then directed the Uttar Pradesh Police to provide security to the two.
The petitioner had alleged that it was a political murder carried out at the behest of the Samajwadi Party and claimed that the investigation carried out by the state police had not been fair and impartial and was shrouded in mystery.
The controversial BSP MLA Raju Pal and two others were shot dead and his wife and another person seriously injured by unidentified assailants in Allahabad on January 25, 2005.
The apex court on April 4, 2006, had stayed the trial of the case before a Fast Track Court in Allahabad.
Later, Atiq Ahmed and his brother was arrested and a charge sheet was filed against them for allegedly conspiring to eliminate Raju Pal.
Overall, while some Dons like Vijay Mishra and Mukhtar Ansari won in 2012, others like Munna Bajrangi lost.
The Supreme Court’s decision should act as a deterrent for political parties in UP that continue to patronise criminals for petty political gains, as it undermines the process of free and fair elections and turns democracy into a sham.
With inputs from PTI