Police in two districts of Uttar Pradesh have obtained separate warrants to question Karthik alias Raju Dulalchand Haldar, the alleged killer of two witnesses in rape cases against self-styled godman Asaram and his son Narayan Sai.
A native of West Bengal, Karthik was arrested from Chhattisgarh by Gujarat Police last month and is presently lodged in Ahmedabad jail. He reportedly had confessed to have killed Akhil Gupta and Kripal Singh, in Muzaffarnagar and Shahjahanpur districts of UP, respectively, last year.
One of the warrants has been obtained by Muzaffarnagar police, which also claimed to have got fresh evidence in Akhil Gupta murder case with Karthik revealing about role of a businessman. The businessman, identified as Neeraj, belongs to Muzaffarnagar and runs a garment shop near Asaram ashram in Ghaziabad. Karthik revealed that Neeraj had provided logistic support to him.
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The police said Neeraj has been absconding since after arrest of Karthik.
“We have come to know that Neeraj was a regular visitor to Asaram ashram in Ghaziabad. During questioning, Karthik named five persons who were involved in the conspiracy to attack witnesses in different states. One of them was Neeraj,” said Rajeev Gupta, SHO of Nai Mandi police station. Gupta is also the investigating officer in the Akhil Gupta murder case.
Gupta said they have obtained a warrant from local court in Muzaffarnagar seeking Karthik’s custody in murder case. A police team has left for Ahmedabad to execute the warrant.
Akhil, a cook and personal aide of Asaram, and his wife Varsha were witnesses in rape cases lodged against the self-styled godman and Narayan Sai in Ahmedabad. Akhil was shot dead while returning home in Muzaffarnagar on January 11 last year. No one has been arrested in the murder case so far. The UP government had recommended a CBI probe into the murder in July, but the agency has yet to take over the investigation.
When contacted, Akhil’s father Naresh Gupta said, “A police team had recently visited our house inquiring about Neeraj. We told them we have no information about him.”
Meanwhile, the Shahjahanpur police too have obtained warrant against three people, including Karthik and two Asaram followers whose names were taken by Kripal Singh in his dying declaration. Kripal was shot while returning home in Shahjahanpur on July 10 last year and he died next day in a hospital. Kripal was witness in a rape case of a minor girl belonging to Shahjahanpur. The case is on trial in Jaipur.
“Apart from warrant against Karthik to question him, we have also obtained warrant against Ankit alias Suraj and Pankaj alias Arjun whose name Kripal had taken in dying declaration. Ankit belongs to Sitapur district while Pankaj is from Ahemdabad. Warrant against Karthik has already been served in Ahmedabad jail,” said the IO of the case K K Verma, who is also SHO of Sadar Bazaar police station in Shahjahanpur.
Shahjahanpur police had earlier arrested Narayan Pandey alias Pushpendra Pandey, a follower of Asaram, in Kripal murder case on the basis of circumstantial evidence. Pandey is lodged in Shahjahanpur jail and police have also filed chargesheet against him.