A 41-year-old businessman, who was being questioned by the CBI in Raipur in connection with a case pertaining to a sex CD allegedly featuring PWD Minister Rajesh Munat, was found hanging from a rafter in his automobile parts shop on Tuesday.
Rinku Khanuja’s family members told reporters that he had been taken in for questioning from June 1, and that they would wait for the post-mortem report before taking any action. Later in the evening, CBI officials in Delhi confirmed that Khanuja had indeed been questioned.
The first FIR in the case was based on a complaint by a BJP worker named Prakash Bajaj, who alleged that he had received a threatening phone call where he was told that the caller had explicit CDs of his “aaka”, and that if he did not pay money, they would be defamed. Police arrested Vinod Verma, former BBC journalist and member of the Editors Guild, from his residence in Ghaziabad in the early hours of October 27, despite his name not featuring in the FIR. Verma, who was also working as a consultant with the Congress, was then charged with extortion and spent two months in jail before being released on bail. As it emerged that the purported CD featured Munat, he claimed the video was a forgery, and filed a case against PCC president Bhupesh Baghel for distributing the CD.
Since Verma’s arrest, both the police and CBI have failed to reveal if Verma made the call to Bajaj and if there was any money involved. Meanwhile, the CBI questioned both Verma and Baghel in May, with Baghel accusing the CBI of following state government orders. Sources said that BJP leader Kailash Murarka was also questioned.
Khanuja’s uncle Niranjan Singh Sahuja said, “He used to go every morning (for questioning) and return at night. Usually when someone is being questioned like this, he is under pressure. He was not a weak person to commit suicide, we want an inquiry. We have faith in police, and will only say something after autopsy.”
Police officials confirmed that Khanuja left home around 8.30 am on Monday, with his family claiming that he had told them he was going to be questioned, Yadumani Sidar, SHO, Civil Lines police station, said, “He did not return that night. Next morning, he sent his family a WhatsApp message, and that is when they panicked. They began looking for him, and contacted Sushil Sachdeva, who owns the property next to his shop. When the family and Sachdeva tried to look inside the first floor, they found a body hanging from the rafter. They broke in. This Arjun Automobiles shop has been in existence for two months. Before this, Khanuja used to run a restaurant at the same spot.”
In his message to his family at 8.51 am, Sahuja wrote that this was his “aakhri namaskaar” and asked for forgiveness.
CBI officials in Delhi said, “Rinku Khanuja was one of the suspects. He was examined from June 1 to June 3. He was confronted with suspects and witnesses and his statement was recorded. He left on June 3 evening and was asked to bring documents on June 4.”
The Congress slammed the BJP government and demanded a probe monitored by a judge.