New Delhi: Raja Bhaiya, a politician with a lengthy criminal record, has been accused of conspiracy in a senior policeman's murder in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. He was forced to resign as UP's Food and Civil Supplies Minister yesterday.
Here's your 10-point Cheat Sheet on Raja Bhaiya
- Raja Bhaiya's real name is Raghuraj Pratap Singh. He is also called 'Toofan' Singh and Raghubir Singh in Kunda, Uttar Pradesh. He is 44 years old and holds a law degree from Lucknow University.
- Raja Bhaiya is a local strongman. His word is said to be law in Kunda, which is also his Assembly constituency. He belongs to an influential family, and reportedly lives a feudal life in a massive fortressed estate.
- He is a five-time legislator from Kunda. He first contested and won elections to the UP Assembly in 1993; he would have been underage then at 24.
- He is an Independent MLA who supports the Samajwadi Party government in the state, and has been a minister twice. Last year, his appointment as Prisons Minister in Akhilesh Yadav's government shocked many.
- That is because the politician has had many criminal cases against him - including charges of attempt to murder, abduction, corruption and dacoity - and has even been in jail on criminal charges.
- He was jailed in 2002 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) when Mayawati was Chief Minister. He was arrested on November 2 along with his father, Uday Pratap Singh, and cousin, Akshay Pratap Singh, on charges of kidnapping and issuing threats. He was later declared a terrorist by the state government. The charges were dropped after SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav took over as Chief Minister in 2003.
- Raja Bhaiya was last arrested in 2010 for allegedly threatening a panchayat poll candidate in Uttar Pradesh. He was released on bail in early 2011 following an Allahabad court order.
- He was removed as Prisons Minister in a cabinet reshuffle last month, but continued as Food and Civil Supplies Minister, which was also his first ever portfolio in 2005, when he became minister in the Mulayam Singh government of the time.
- Raja Bhaiya's political allegiances have shifted over the years. Previously, he backed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and was said to be close to former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh. He later changed camps and threw his lot behind the Samajwadi Party.
- His grandfather, Raja Bajrang Bahadur Singh, was the founder vice chancellor of the Pant Nagar Agriculture University. He was also the governor of Himachal Pradesh. He had adopted Raghubir's father, Uday Pratap Singh.