The Madhya Pradesh Police is on the lookout for an RSS activist, Himmat Patidar, who allegedly faked his own death by planning a conspiracy to kill a labourer who worked for him two years ago. To claim insurance money of around Rs 20 lakh, Patidar, police said, murdered a labourer Madan Malviya, burnt his face to try and pass off the body as his own last week in Ratlam district.
Home Minister Bala Bachchan Monday said the body found in an agriculture field that Patidar owned in Kamed village on January 23 was Malviya’s, and not Patidar as was initially believed. Police established the identity of Malviya after DNA tests on the body.
Patidar had left his home the previous night around 1.30 am telling his family that he was going to switch on the water pump to irrigate the field but did not return. The next morning a body bearing injury marks on the neck was found but the face was burnt to conceal identity, police said. His cousin, Suresh Patidar, who is also a district-level RSS functionary, lodged a complaint with the Bilpank Police Station.
Citing this murder and the killing of two BJP functionaries earlier, the Opposition BJP had accused the Congress government of deteriorating the law and order situation in the state and burned effigies of Chief Minister Kamal Nath and Bachchan in state-wide protests.
Referring to a tweet by former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan after the Ratlam murder, Bachchan Monday asked if Chouhan will also visit the house Malviya, a Dalit. “The BJP’s original character has come to light. Himmat Patidar has turned out to be killer. BJP workers are taking the law into their hands but the party is passing the blame to us,’’ Bachchan said in Bhopal.
Ratlam SP Gaurav Tiwari said Malviya, who was a labourer at Patidar’s farm until two years ago, had left his home around 9.30 the previous night but had not returned. While the police found that the water pump at the field where Malviya worked was running and not switched off, the one at Patidar’s field was not switched on.
The police found Patidar’s mobile phone, an Aadhaar card, an ATM card and a pocket diary with details of insurance, fixed deposits and loans on the body. His motorcycle, shoes and a blood-stained belt was also found nearby. The police found Malviya’s shoes around 500 meters from the scene of the crime. The post mortem revealed that the victim had been strangled and then attacked four times with a sharp weapon. The face was later burnt.
Investigations revealed that the mobile phone was used till 4.30 am but call records, text messages and photographs in the WhatsApp gallery had been deleted. The police found that the zippers of the jacket and the trousers on the body were open and there were no struggle marks on the body.
According to Tiwari, the police were suspicious and recreated the crime scene and questioned family members separately. Malviya’s family members confirmed that the underwear found on the body was his but not the other clothes. The police took DNA samples of Malviya’s parents and matched them with the samples preserved during the post mortem.