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`Lecturer murdered over sleaze, blackmail money’

Tuesday 26 December 2006

Prime suspect makes disclosures at a press conference

Meerut: The mystery shrouding the missing local lecturer Kavita Rani was unravelled on Monday by the police. The main suspect claimed it was a case of sleaze and blackmail allegedly involving a former Minister and a fight over sharing money that led to her murder.

Two days after media reports about the 29-year-old lecturer’s disappearance two months ago, Senior Superintendent of Police Navneet Sikhera addressed a press conference in which the main suspect Ravindra Pradhan made sensational disclosures.

Pradhan said he had murdered the lecturer of Chaudhary Charan Singh University with the help of an associate Yogesh because she had been pestering him with demands for a higher share of the Rs 35 lakhs taken from former Irrigation Minister Meerajuddin.

The former Minister, a leader of the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal, was captured in a compromising position in his bedroom in Lucknow, Ravindra Pradhan said.

It was filmed on a CD made by Ravindra Pradhan, Yogesh and Kavita for which spy cameras were bought in Connaught Place in Delhi, Sikhera said.

Meerajuddin, who resigned from the Mulayam Singh Yadav Cabinet because he was not a legislator, said it was a "political conspiracy" against him and denied Ravindra Pradhan’s version of the story.

Ravindra told police on interrogation that he and Yogesh strangulated Kavita, tied the body to a bag filled with stones and dumped it in a canal in Sanauta in Bulandshahr on October 24, Sikhera said.

Police were still trying to find the body though they had recovered one in an adjacent canal which turned out to be that of another woman, he said.

He said while returning to Meerut on October 22 from Ghansoorpur village in Bulandshahr district where she had gone for Diwali, Kavita got down from the bus at Hapur crossing and went with Ravindra and Yogesh to Ghaziabad.

She remained in Ghaziabad till the next day and on October 24, she was given a spiked drink and strangulated when she passed out, Sikhera said.

Ravindra claimed Kavita had "intimate relations" with several influential people after which he made the plan for blackmailing them with sleaze tapes and photographs.

Ravindra said, "We collected Rs 35 lakhs out of which Rs 3 lakhs was paid to her." He added that he was introduced to Kavita by Rajbir Pradhan, a local leader of Khurja.

Two Samajwadi Party ministers Chaudhry Babulal and Kiranpal Singh also linked to the lecturer’s disappearance have denied it saying they were being politically maligned.

Babulal had admitted to speaking with Kavita a number of times "to help her with her career as she was a member of his Jat community".

Singh said his name was "being dragged into it due to personal enmity".

Ravindra Pradhan said Kavita was pregnant at the time of murder. He also said that the CD on Meerajuddin was given to him after taking money from him.

Demand for CBI probe

Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh on Monday supported the demand for a CBI probe into the case.

"I fully support the demand for a CBI inquiry into the matter," Singh told reporters in Lucknow.

When pointed out that the name of a Jan Morcha leader, who allegedly nominated the lecturer as a member in an arts academy, had also cropped up in the case, Mr. Singh said, "One does not become a suspect just because he nominated someone. I had also nominated several women during my tenure as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh."

Meerajuddin quits RLD

Former U.P. Irrigation Minister Meerajuddin Ahmed on Monday resigned from the Rashtriya Lok Dal but denied involvement in the case. He said he knew the Chaudhry Charan Singh University temporary lecturer Kavita Rani but was innocent. It was a part of a conspiracy which he would expose within a week, the RLD leader claimed.

"I did know her. There is nothing unusual in it as we meet a lot of people," he told PTI. Meerajuddin said he had sent a letter to RLD president Ajit resigning from the party’s national working committee. — PTI

See online : The Hindu

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