A BJP legislator claimed in Uttar Pradesh Assembly on Friday that there is threat to his life and demanded more security, and strict action against four people arrested by UP Police’s Special Task Force (STF) from Varanasi on Thursday.
“Meri hatya ka shadyantra racha gaya (there was conspiracy to kill me),” Ashok Singh Chandel, MLA from Hamipur constituency, said during Zero Hour.
The STF has said that the four arrested have admitted during initial interrogation that they were hired by Rajeev Shukla, a local BJP leader from Hamirpur, to kill the MLA.
In Vidhan Sabha, Chandel alleged that Rajeev Shukla, his aide Ajay and others had conspired to kill him, and that he had raised the issue in the past as well, but he was not given proper security.
Chandel alleged that his security was reduced during the Samajwadi Party government. “I am a member of this House, and there is a threat to my life,” he said. “Nivedan hai ki hamari suraksha ka pukhta intzam karayein (I request you to ensure that proper security arrangements are made).”
He found support from Leader of Opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary, who maintained that there have been reports that several MLAs, including the Opposition, have received threats to their lives as well as extortion calls in recent past. Calling it a serious issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Suresh Khanna said instructions will be given to ensure proper security.
Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit asked the government to discuss this issue, as well as alleged threat to other MLAs, with Principal Secretary (Home) and other officers concerned.
On Friday, Hamirpur police said they recovered an illegal carbine and a double-barrel gun from Shukla’s home in Rameri area of Hamirpur city on Thursday. The police claimed that the arrested four — Chandan Sonkar, Akhilesh Singh (alias Pankaj), Utsav Singh (alias Yeshu), and Abhishek Singh (alias Rahul) — have said that the weapons were to be used in the attack on Chandel.
They went to Rajeev Shukla’s home on August 16, where Ajay Saxena, alias Ajay Shukla, showed them the weapons and told them that they will get them to kill the MLA, according to STF. On the basis of information shared by STF, Hamirpur police arrested Ajay. The police subsequently raised Shukla’s home and seized the weapons.
Circle Officer, City, Rajneesh Kumar Upadhyay, said, “Rajeev Shukla was not present during the search. The carbine recovered was licensed earlier but it was not renewed since 2016. Family members present claimed that the DBBL (double-barrel gun) belongs to a relative. So far, no relative has come forward to claim it.” Upadhyay said police are looking for Rajeev, who has been booked under Arms Act for keeping illegal firearms.
Claiming that both weapons belong to close relatives, Rajeev Shukla’s brother-in-law Awadhesh Dubey told The Indian Express, “In 1997, five members of Rajeev’s family, including his elder brothers Rakesh and Rajesh, were killed. Ashok Chandel and his associates were booked in the case…. In 2002, a local court acquitted them.”
Dubey said the family moved Allahabad High Court against Chandel’s acquittal. “The matter is pending. The MLA and local police fabricated a story that Rajeev and his aides planned his murder in order to build pressure on us (to withdraw the appeal in HC),” Dubey alleged.
BJP’s Hamirpur district president Sant Vilas Shivhare said, “Rajeev Shukla is an affluent farmer. He joined BJP about two years ago. He does not hold any party post. There is some personal dispute between Rajeev and MLA Chandel. Everyone is aware. So far, no one in the party at the state headquarters have asked me about the matter.”