Even as the police are yet to make any arrests in the alleged murder of Shahjahanpur-based freelance journalist Jagendra Singh, his family has alleged that are being threatened with dire consequences by associates of UP Minister Ram Murti Singh Verma if they did not withdraw a police case they have filed.
Based on a complaint by Jagendra’s son, an FIR, under charges of murder and conspiracy, has been registered against Verma and five policemen. Jagendra was allegedly set ablaze by some policemen during a raid at his house on June 1 and he succumbed to injuries on June 8.
On Monday morning, the Shahjahanpur police filed a Non-Cognizable Report (NCR) against advocate Virendra Pal Singh Chauhan and one Ram Pratap Singh on a complaint filed by Jagendra’s father Somer Singh at the Khutar police station. The case has been filed under IPC section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Somer Singh, who met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow Monday, has alleged in his complaint that on Saturday, when he and his family members were sitting on dharna near their house in Shahjahanpur, Virendra Pal and Ram Pratap, both associates of Minister Verma, arrived and threatened them.
Jagendra’s son, Rajan Singh said, “They came in a car and threatened that if we did not withdraw the case they would get us killed. They also threatened to frame our family in a false case”. He added that his grandfather filed the complaint on Saturday but police did not take cognizance.
On Sunday, the family complained to DIG, Bareilly Range, R K S Rathore, who is supervising the investigation into the journalist’s murder, after which a direction was issued to file the case, said Rajan.
Station House Officer, Khutar police station, Rajesh Kumar Singh, said Virendra Pal is a Shahjahanpur-based practising lawyer and added that they have little information about Ram Pratap Singh, who is resident of Tilhar locality in the same district.
Interestingly, Virendra Singh is representing a widow, who had filed a complaint in Shahjahanpur district court alleging that on May 5, 2015, she was kidnapped and gangraped by Minister Verma and his four associates.
The widow is also the sole witness in the murder case of Jagendra, and had allegedly told policemen that the journalist has immolated himself when the police team arrived at his house to arrest him in connection with an old case. She had claimed that she was present in the house when the incident took place.