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Killing of cop: Mayawati sacks minister

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
Last updated on: June 08, 2008 18:54 IST
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Involvement of a state minister in a shoot-out that left one police constable dead in Maharajganj town of Eastern Uttar Pradesh on Saturday night, has cost him dear.

Jamuna Prasad Nishad, Uttar Pradesh fisheries minister was dropped by Chief Minister Mayawati from her cabinet on Sunday afternoon.

Mayawati summoned the minister to her residence and asked him to step down following which he readily submitted his resignation.

Addressing a press conference at her official residence in Lucknow, Mayawati said, "The minister in question told me that he had simply gone to the Maharajganj police station to ensure that suitable action was taken against a particular accused in a rape case, as people of the locality had complained to him about some slackness."

She said, "However, the FIR registered by the police alleges that the minister went to the police station with some 60-70 supporters, who resorted to violence; and it was during the melee that someone fired a bullet, which killed a police constable on duty."

Unlike an earlier occasion when Mayawati got one of her party lawmakers, Uma Kant Yadav, behind bars for indulging in vandalism, in this case she simply dropped Nishad from the ministry.

In Yadav's case, Mayawati literally laid a trap for him by inviting him over to her residence, where she got him arrested from there.

Evidently, she has a soft corner for Nishad, who will be now facing just a simple magisterial inquiry. Interestingly, Mayawati claimed , "I wanted to hand over this case to the CBI, as I do not want my adversaries to accuse my administration of bias; but considering that CBI had been consistently turning down all our recommendations, I chose to order a magisterial probe into the incident."

As a sop to the slain cop's bereaved family, she declared an unusual but handsome monetary compensation of Rs 34 lakh.

"While the family will receive a solatium of Rs 24 lakh, a fixed deposit of Rs 5 lakh will be made in the name of each of his two daughters," the chief minister added.

Meanwhile, a fresh investigation has been ordered in the alleged rape incident that snowballed into such a major row.

Police has filed an FIR against the minister and 50 of unnamed supporters under section 302 (murder) and other relevant charges under the IPC and the Arms Act after a constable was killed in firing during protests over alleged shielding of a suspect in a rape case in Maharajganj on Saturday night.

The sources said the police will have to seek the permission of Speaker of the assembly in case they decide to arrest the minister.

Witnesses alleged that a red-beacon vehicle, in which the minister was present along with his supporters, came to the area and the occupants had an altercation with a police guard. A crowd was already present at the spot.

As a commotion ensued, other policemen rushed to the spot and tried to chase them away when someone opened fire, police said, adding a bullet hit constable Krishna Nand Rai. He was rushed to a hospital in Gorakhpur, where he succumbed to his wounds. The mob also tried to ransack the police station and loot the armoury.

Additional Reportage: PTI

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow