The Special Investigation Team (SIT), which has completed its investigation into the death of businessman Indra Kant Tripathi in which suspended Mahoba SP Mani Lal Patidar is an accused, has red-flagged a police notice issued to Tripathi in a gambling case last month.
“Tripathi was not found present at the spot where people were playing cards. The arrested persons in their statement to police did not take his name, but police still issued a notice to him. Police said that they had learnt Tripathi’s involvement through a source. We suspect that there was something fishy in the probe,” said an SIT officer.
The gambling case was lodged on August 9 at Kabrai police station whose SHO Devendra Shukla was suspended after businessman Tripathi accused Patidar of extortion and criminal intimidation on September 7. A day later, Tripathi was found with bullet injuries in his car and succumbed to injuries a week later. The same day, a video showing Tripathi playing cards was released to a media portal, and Patidar accused him of running a gambling business.
The SIT officer said, “We contacted the journalist running the news portal. He told us that he had got the video from a police officer. The officer told us that then SP (Patidar) had asked him to give it to the journalist.”
Tripathi’s family claimed that the video was two to three years old and that the suspended officers wanted to frame him as he failed to pay the extortion money.
Mahoba police are still investigating the case. SP Arun Kumar Srivastava said they would study the SIT findings.
Sharing the sequence of the gambling case, the SIT officer quoted above said police had arrested three men for playing cards at a house in Revahi village on August 9 while two others managed to escape. The arrested men were brought to Kabrai police station and FIR was lodged against them under IPC sections 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty). The police also invoked the Public Gambling Act against the accused.
On August 30, police issued a notice to Tripathi under section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) asking him to appear for questioning, said the SIT officer.
Tripathi’s nephew Kamal Kant alleged that Mahoba police were going all out to extract money. “My uncle got worried when he found that police were trying to frame him in the gambling case… My uncle went to the police station after receiving the notice. SHO Devendra Shukla asked him to meet SP Mani Lal Patidar. During the meeting, the SP threatened my uncle for not paying him money,” said Kamal Kant
“When my uncle expressed his inability as his (mining explosive) business was shut, Patidar threatened to get him killed and pass it off as suicide,” he said.
In the Tripathi death case, Patidar has informed the SIT that he has tested positive for the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment. Shukla is untraceable.
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