Union Minister Mahavir Prasad booked for murder (Lead)

February 11th, 2009 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 11 (IANS) Union Micro, Small and Medium Industries Minister Mahavir Prasad has been booked for a murder related to a land dispute in January 2008 in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur district, police here said Wednesday.
Prasad, a Congress leader, and two others, Gauri Shanker and Rajesh Singh, were Tuesday night charged with killing a villager in Gorakhpur district’s Gagha area, about 270 km from here, allegedly over a property dispute, a police official said.

The police action followed a direction from the Allahabad High Court earlier in the day.

“Shubhawati of Ujjarpar village in the area had registered a case in the Gagha police station against Prasad and two others, including village head Rajesh Singh, for killing her husband in January 2008,” Aditya Nath Mishra, deputy inspector general, Gorakhpur, told IANS on telephone.

The murder took place over a land dispute. The body of Shubhawati’s husband, Ram Pragat, was recovered from the fields in the village Jan 28, 2008, police said.

While Shubhawati had alleged that the three had run over her husband in a jeep, an accident case was filed only against Singh and Shanker. Following this, Shubhawati moved a local court in Gorakhpur to get a murder case registered against the three, including the minister, police added.

However, the local court rejected her plea after which she moved the high court, which directed that Prasad be named as a co-accused in the murder case.

Prasad was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bansgaon in Gorakhpur in 2004. He has also earlier served as union minister in previous Congress governments. Besides, he has also served as the governor of Haryana.

“Following high court directions, the minister has been booked under section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code (criminal conspiracy) while the other two have been booked under sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of public peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation),” police inspector Virendra Yadav told IANS on telephone.

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