The murder case of Brahmeshwar Singh alias Mukhiya, the chief of the Ranvir Sena, infamously called the Narpishach (Devil), instead of getting solved is becoming more complicated. As the CBI is yet to accept the Bihar government’s assignment, the case is being investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by the state police. The Bhojpur Superintendent of Police (SP) M. R. Naik claims that the case is now as clear as daylight. The dispute was basically about grabbing a piece of land. Abhay Pandey, the son of Ara’s oldest muscleman Hareram Pandey had warned Brahmeshwar Mukhiya nine days prior to the murder not to poke his nose into the land dispute. According to the police, Abhay Pandey left for Noida, UP, after the murder and is still absconding. Three, including Anil Kumar Pandey, nephew of Hareram Pandey, have been arrested and are in custody in Ara jail.
Brahmeshwar Mukhiya was killed at 4am on 1 June when he went out for his usual morning walk (constitutional) in Katira under Nawada police station. According to stories circulating among the local residents, the murderers numbered four: One stood guard at the first turning of the lane near Mukhiya’s residence. Two were riding a bike while one, wearing a red tee-shirt, used the murder weapon. An old woman, who was picking flowers for her puja, said that she heard Mukhiya’s shriek but no gunfire.
On the other hand, the Bihar Police and the post-mortem report say that Mukhiya was shot with 7.36 bore bullets. The post-mortem report says that no bullets were found in Mukhiya’s body. Neither were bullets found at the murder spot. Strangely, police claim they did recover three bullet shells but they were said to be of 6.75 bore and not of 7.36 bore! Also, a full magazine of an automatic gun was reportedly recovered from the scene of the crime.
TOP COP IN POST-MORTEM ROOM?
The chief of the SIT appointed by the Bihar police and the DIG of Shahabad range (including Bhojpur, Buxor and Kaimur districts) Ajitabh Kumar, in a telephonic conversation with FORWARD Press on 23 June, confirmed that wounds corresponding to the entry and exit of six bullets have been found on Mukhiya’s body. This means that six bullets hit Mukhiya and they all exited his body.
Even if this claim is taken at its face value, the question is, where have the bullets gone? Bullets that go through a body and exit lose their velocity and are usually found around the scene of the shooting. Were these “magic bullets” which flew out of the gun, went through and killed Mukhiya, and then just disappeared?
A bigger question is what was Ajitabh Kumar doing at the place where Mukhiya’s autopsy was being performed? Clearly, his presence in the post-mortem room, along with the doctors, raises many suspicions and puts the Bihar police in the dock.
The state DGP Abhyanand told FORWARD Press that since this was an extremely serious case, Ajitabh had a formal meeting with the doctors to ensure that there was no delay in post-mortem. This meeting was not a closed-door one, he said. On the other hand, DIG, Shahabad Range and chief of SIT, Ajitabh Kumar said that he had not met the doctors at all! But according to newspapers published from Patna, Ajitabh Kumar was present in the post-mortem room of Ara’s Sadar hospital all through the procedure. What interest did a top officer of the Bihar Police have in this post-mortem? We would expect that, whatever the motives, at least these two top cops would get their story straight.
POINTING TO THE PANDE FAMILY
The family members of Mukhiya had told the police that they suspected JDU’s muscleman MLA Narendra Kumar Pande alias Sunil Pande. The police too launched its investigations on the basis of this suspicion. The police raided Pande’s government house in Patna and arrested his private driver. In addition, his brother Hulas Pande, who is an Independent member of the Legislative Council was taken into custody, interrogated for two days and let off.
Did Sunil Pande really have any role in this murder? As a matter of fact, there was an old enmity between Brahmeshwar Mukhiya and Sunil Pande. Those in the know tell that a bloody battle ensued between Mukhiya and Pande in 1993 in the wake of the murder of a brick-kiln owner. On 10 January 1997, Brahmeshwar Mukhiya’s men killed three people in Bagar village of Tarari sub-division of Bhojpur district. All the deceased were Bhumihars and included a woman, who was a close relation of Pande. Mukhiya’s family members assert that the root cause of Mukhiya’s murder could not be the dispute over possession of land or a battle for dominance with a petty goonda like Hare Ram Pande. And, according to them, neither did the murder have anything to do with the Rs 62 crore in the bank account of the Ranvir Sena or its huge cache of firearms.
Even ignoring what the family members of Mukhiya are saying, the facts too point in a different direction. It is clear that the Left extremists did not kill Mukhiya. All the Leftist factions have clarified this through the newspapers.
|Officers probing Mukhiya murder case and five members of sit|
|Name||Post||Social background||Special remarks|
|Abhyanand||DGP, Bihar||Bhumihar||Close relative of Mukhiya|
|Ajitabh Kumar||DIG, Shahabad||Rajput||Close confidante of Abhyanand. Leader of SIT set-up to probe Mukhiya’s murder|
|Sunil Kumar||DSP, Gaya||Bhumihar||Member of SIT|
|Sonelal Singh||Inspector, Patna||Bhumihar||Member of SIT|
|Uday Bahadur||Sub-inspector, Bhojpur||Bhumihar||Member of SIT|
|Ajay Kumar||Sub-inspector, Patna||Bhumihar||Member of SIT|
|Kumar Saurav||Sub-inspector, Buxar||Bhumihar||Member of SIT|
POLITICS OF MURDER
Mukhiya was preparing to contest elections. For this, he had begun reviving the Rashtravadi Kisan Sangathan, an organization associated with the outlawed Ranvir Sena. He was eyeing the 2014 Lok Sabha election. He intended to associate with the ruling NDA coalition of Bihar to enter electoral politics. But he got annoyed with the NDA because of the Bihar government’s announcement to move the Supreme Court against the High Court judgment in the Bathani Tola massacre case. Addressing public meetings, held under the banner of Rashtravadi Kisan Sangathan, at several places including Ara, Gaya, Aurangabad, Patna and Bhojpur, he raised his voice against the government. According to Advocate Ramniwas Sharma, who fought the court battle on behalf of Mukhiya, this might have been the reason for Mukhiya’s murder.
Going back to the post-mortem report, the doctors found that six bullets of 7.36 bore were shot at Mukhiya. Generally, bullets of this bore are used in automatic machine guns, also known as general purpose machine guns. In India, this weapon is normally used by the Indian Army and the Intelligence department. Do these facts hint at the possibility that the Bihar Police’s Special Task Force (STF), notorious as “encounter specialists”, had some kind of hand in this professionally executed hit job of an old but troublesome man? Be that as it may, Mukhiya has been killed and the Ranvir Sena’s new supremo has been elected by acclamation. The warriors of the Ranvir Sena, in keeping with dynastic politics, have chosen Mukhiya’s son Indrabhushan Singh as their new chief. The corridors of politics in Patna are agog with the talk of a merger of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangathan with the JD(U). However, the BJP has not given up its efforts in this matter. The working president of the Bihar BJP, Dr C P Thakur is personally keeping an eye on this matter. At stake are the powerful Bhumihars who can be troublesome if not on your side.
Now what remains to be seen is whose “magic bullets” terminated Brahmeshwar Mukhiya, accused of murdering hundreds of Dalits, backwards, and minority community members. At present, the role of the Bihar government and the police raises more questions than there are answers. We can only hope that the truth will come out gradually during the CBI probe. However, it is unlikely that everything in this case will ever become as clear as daylight. Will it take a magician to materialize the missing “magic bullets” that fatally felled the “Butcher of Bihar”?
Police is doing its job: Abhyanand, DGP, Bihar
The Director General of Bihar Police Abhyanand, who not only belongs to the same caste as Mukhiya but is also his relative, says that the police is doing its job in the Mukhiya murder case
Abhyanand (AN): Yes. The police is investigating the entire case. It has found three shells and one loaded magazine from the scene of the crime. The state government has decided to hand over the probe to the CBI. The CBI has been requested to probe only the murder. We will probe the incidents after the murder at our level.
FP: Is it true that at your instance, the Shahabad range DIG Ajitabh Kumar had a special meeting with doctors before the post-mortem?
Abhyanand: No. There was a lot of public anger on the day of the murder and our first responsibility was to get the post-mortem done and hand over Mukhiyaji’s body to his family. Ajitabh had talked to doctors only to ensure that the post-mortem was completed as soon as possible. The meeting was not a closed-door one.
FP: Do you consider the ruckus kicked up by the supporters of Mukhiya during the funeral procession on 2 June as a failure of the police?
AN: You see, I have already said that if on the day of the incident, the police had not behaved with patience and restraint, things could have worsened. Our responsibility was to maintain peace and we were successful in it. There is no law in the country which can be used to stop someone from holding a cremation at some place. We had communicated this to Rajbhavan also.
Mukhiyaji was like God for me: Sunil Pande
Narendra Kumar Pande alias Sunil Pande is the JD(U) MLA from the Tarari assembly constituency. On the basis of the preliminary statements of the family members of Mukhiya, the police view him as a suspect.
FORWARD Press (FP): Mukhiya’s kin are accusing you of his murder. What do have you to say on this?
Sunil Pande (SP): I have held Mukhiyaji in high esteem ever since my birth. As for murder, I would only like to say that for me, he was like God.
FP: According to the information coming in, there was a feud between Mukhiya and yourself.
SP: There is no question of any feud. I am doing my work as people’s representative. Mukhiyaji was a leading light of the society. I respected him.
FP: Isn’t it true that in the massacre committed by Ranvir Sena in 1997 in Bagar village, one of your relatives was also killed.
SP: I have nothing to say on this.
FP: Abhay Pande, who, the police say, is the main accused, is said to be close to you.
Sunil Pande: I don’t know him.
Mukhiya on YouTube
FORWARD Press has been keeping a close eye on the Brahmeshwar Mukhiya case. After Mukhiya was released from jail on 8 July 2011 due to the Bihar government’s failure to argue the case against him properly, we published a photo-feature in our August 2011 issue to expose his real face—very different from the one shown by pictures of him paying obeisance at a temple.
In this series, we had published edited excerpts of an interview with Mukhiya in our March 2012 issue. This interview was conducted by out sub-editor Nawal Kishor Kumar. That was the first and last proper interview of Mukhiya, taken by a media house and recorded on camera.
Published in the July 2012 issue of the Forward Press magazine
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