Jharkhand BJP MLA, wanted for murder, surrenders

In the murderous coal belt of Dhanbad known for gang warfare recorded in the film <i>Gangs of Wasseypur</i>, the blood feud of mafia dons continues unabated

Photo by Gautam Dey
Photo by Gautam Dey

Shashank Shekhar

Jharkhand BJP MLA Sanjiv Singh, prime accused in the murder of his cousin, Dhanbad Deputy Mayor and Congress leader Niraj Singh, surrendered at Saraidhela Police Station in Dhanbad on Tuesday.

Niraj Singh and three other companions were killed in a hail of bullets on March 21 near Steel Gate in Dhanbad after the SUV he was travelling in was intercepted by motorcycle borne assailants.

The Jharkhand Government had constituted a Special Investigating Team (SIT) which approached the court for a warrant of arrest against the BJP lawmaker based on forensic reports.

Coal belt DIG Saket Singh, when contacted, said police would be interrogating the MLA and confront him with the evidence and statement of witnesses suggesting his involvement in the sensational killing. More than 49 rounds had been fired on the SUV; 26 of which had hit the Deputy Mayor.

One of the survivors, Aditya Raj, who was in the SUV, had claimed to have seen the lawmaker at the site of the ambush. On March 28, police had arrested several close confidantes of the legislator, some of them were believed to be sharpshooters.

The murder, said to be a fallout of family dispute, was neither condemned nor condoled by BJP leaders even as the uncle of the deceased demanded a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) inquiry to nab the culprits. He had alleged that the police were shielding the assailants and the prime suspect.

Police sources claimed that location of the mobile phones indicated by the towers at the time of attack helped narrow down the list of suspects.

SIT chief Ajay Singh had earlier said, “It seems that professional contract killers were hired from outside though role of local people cannot be ruled out.”

The FIR lodged by the younger brother of the Deputy Mayor had named the Jharia BJP MLA Sanjiv Singh and his younger brother Siddharth Gautam besides three other henchmen of the MLA.

In the FIR, Abhishek Singh stated that he was close to his house at Saraidhela when he received a call from Aditya Raj who was crouching on the floor of the SUV and was informed of the attack. “I started running towards Steel Gate and saw Jainendra Singh driving a motorcycle on which Sanjiv Singh was seated on the pillion with an automatic weapon which was half covered by a towel.”

“While escaping, Sanjiv threatened me,” he is believed to have told the police during his interrogation.

The MLA had however denied the allegations. At a press conference, he had claimed that he was as shocked and pained at the killing as any other family member and that he was in no frame of mind to answer questions.

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