NEW DELHI: Even as the ‘key accused’ Yogesh Raj is still absconding, the name of a ‘new suspect’ has cropped up in the probe into the mob killing of police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh in the violence in Bulandshahr on December 3. According to the Uttar Pradesh police, a Delhi-based driver, Prashant Natt, is the ‘key suspect’ now. Interestingly, Natt’s name was not in the First Information Report (FIR).
The new development comes close to a month after the UP police has failed to make any headway in nabbing Yogesh Raj, the district Bajrang Dal convenor, who is absconding. An Army man, Jitendra Malik aka Jeetu Fauji has been arrested and sent to judicial custody, but there are reportedly no leads as yet.
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“Natt’s name was not mentioned in the initial FIR. However, during investigation, the name has come up. There were 400-500 people who were part of the mob which launched an attack. Through videos of the incident, statements of eyewitnesses and accused persons who have been arrested we are in the process of identifying more people,” said Prashant Kumar, ADG Meerut, was quoted The Print.
Kumar, while briefing media on Wednesday, also said that several police teams were conducting raids to arrest Natt. “Based on oral testimonies of some other people, we have recreated the crime scene and narrowed down the people who went and killed the inspector — Natt was part of that group. We have almost cracked the case of the inspector’s killing,” Kumar was quoted by The Economic Times.
According to reports, Natt belongs to Chingrawathi village in Bulandshahr district and drives a cab in Delhi.
Kumar also told the media that the earlier ‘prime accused’ Yogesh Raj had a role in bringing people to the streets and instigating the crowd and even arguing with the slain inspector, but “he is not a suspect” in the killing which was done in the fields.
Raising questions over the police investigation, former Director General of Police (DGP) of UP, Vikram Singh, told Newsclick, "The process of investigation in such cases is when you draft the FIR with due care and caution. You should not be impulsive and intuitive when you place names in an FIR. It can be blind FIR, but when you have a named FIR, not to book those who are named and bring somebody who is not named, certainly raises some serious questions.”
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Singh raised queries such as why the named FIR was lodged in the first case? Why the UP Police was “letting off” the named accused (Yogesh Raj), and how were they bringing in a third accused Prashant Natt, “on what basis, what evidence and who has named him?"
"Further, the credibility of investigators has hit all-time low and I would not believe that justice can be done to the investigation by a sub-inspector, inspector, deputy SP or SSP because too much of water has flown in the river post the killing of Subodh Kumar Singh. Named accused in the FIR not picked by the police so far, and if (Yogesh) Raj is innocent then give us the evidence. If somebody is trying to bail out the key accused Raj then this despicable crime,” he added.
After the violence in Bulandshahr, the UP police had picked up some people for alleged cow slaughter on directions from Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. While those arrested people, belonging to the Muslim community, were sent to police custody, the one accused for killing the inspector, Jeetu Fauji, was sent o judicial custody. This again raised several eyebrows over the investigation process being followed in the two cases.
When asked whether it was the right process to send an accused in alleged cow slaughter to police custody, while the accused arrested for killing the inspector has been sent to judicial custody, the former DGP said, "Both the cases are so sensitive. Police remand is imperative in both cases. If I were an investigative officer in this case, I would have sent every accused to police remand for 14 days, put them through lie detector and narco analysis,” asking “What happened to Jeetu Fauji? Was he interrogated by any senior officers? Was he put across lie detector test?"
Last week, four Muslim boys arrested for alleged cow slaughter got SIT’s clean chit after being kept in ‘police custody’ for about 16 days. On Wednesday, three more people were arrested in the connection with alleged cow slaughter.