JD-U leader surrenders, jailed for thrashing youth (Second Lead)

July 27th, 2010 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Patna, July 27 (IANS) After absconding for more than 24 hours, Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Shambhu Saran Rai surrendered Tuesday and was sent to judicial custody on charges of mercilessly thrashing a youth who had allegedly attempted to rape a minor girl.
Rai was produced before the chief judicial magistrate of Vaishali after he surrendered to police with hundreds of his supporters. The court sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.

On Sunday, Rajesh Mahto was hoisted on bamboo sticks and beaten up by Rai, the secretary of the JD-U district unit, in Mansoorpur Halaiya village, about 40 km from here. Rajesh, who is in his 20s, is battling for life at the PMCH Hospital here.

The incident was first reported Monday by local TV channels. A villager had recorded it on his mobile phone, made a CD and submitted it to the district police, said a police officer in Hajipur, the district headquarters of Vaishali.

Rai, who was the only one seen beating Rajesh in the video, had been absconding since Monday. He refuted the charges against him after he surrendered.

Vaishali Superintendent of Police Sujeet Kumar told IANS that the police had raided several suspected hideouts of Rai since Monday to arrest him.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered a probe into the incident. The JD-U has suspended Rai from the party.

A police officer said a first information report (FIR) had been lodged against Rajesh and his friend Ajay Mahto for allegedly attempting to rape a 15-year-old girl in the village Friday.

The girl’s parents brought up the matter at the village panchayat Saturday and Sunday.

When Rajesh turned up for the hearing Sunday, Rai thrashed him. Ajay stayed away.

Rajesh’s parents have refuted the charges against their son. “My son Rajesh was beaten like an animal because he had put pressure on Rai to return Rs.10,000 to him. Rai took the money for an Indira Awas Yojna unit,” Rajesh’s father Kailash Mahto said.

In rural Bihar, village council heads are found demanding money for the housing scheme from the poor which they fail to return.

The incident has shocked people of the state.

“After regular reports of lynching, a Talibani style of justice has now taken place and it was executed by a ruling party leader. It seems that Nitish Kumar’s claims of good governance and rule of law are good jokes,” human rights activist Aneesh Ankur said.

Mahesh Kumar, a businessman, said the incident was like Haryana’s khap panchayats as it took place in full public view.

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