Zia-ul-Haque (file image)
The 10-member Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team in Kunda, Uttar Pradesh has appealed to villagers to come forward as witnesses in its probe into the murder of senior police officer Zia-ul-Haque, who was shot dead on March 2. In a press release, the CBI, which has set up a camp office and a helpline number in Pratapgarh, has assured the villagers against any kind of harassment.
The CBI team is investigating the murders of a village headman, his brother, and Kunda's Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Zia-ul-Haque, who was killed allegedly on the orders of Raja Bhaiya, the state legislator from Kunda. Raja Bhaiya
, whose real name is Raghuraj Pratap Singh, was a senior minister in the Uttar Pradesh government; he resigned three days after the murders.
On September 5, Zia-ul-Haque reportedly prepared a list of cases against Raja Bhaiya. Charges in the 47 cases listed against him include murder, conspiracy to murder and violations under the Gangster Act.
The CBI, which is probing the charge of conspiracy to murder against Raja Bhaiya in the killing of Zia-ul-Haque, has not indicated how quickly it will question the MLA, who was neither interrogated nor arrested by the UP police. The biggest challenge for the CBI team is convincing the villagers that witnessed the murders to testify. There were, reportedly, 300 people present when the murders happened. Many of the men in Balipur, where the shootings took place, have disappeared to avoid being questioned.
Zia-ul-Haque was killed after he reached Pratapgarh where the village headman, Nanhe Yadav, had been shot. An angry mob reportedly cornered him, and eight policemen who were with Zia-ul-Haq allegedly abandoned him. Three bullets were fired - one killed Zia-ul-Haque; two others killed Yadav's brother. (Read: How Zia-ul-Haque was killed
Meanwhile, Zia-ul-Haque's widow, Parveen Azad, has written a letter to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, demanding the CBI team investigating her husband's murder should be from Delhi, not Uttar Pradesh. She has also demanded that a fast track court should be set up outside Uttar Pradesh and the case should be heard on a day-to-day basis.