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Bo Xilai may face criminal charges for blocking murder probe

Bo's wife Gu Kailai and orderly,Zhang,are being probed in the murder of businessman Neil Heywood.

Written by Agencies | Beijing |
April 18, 2012 2:12:43 pm

Purged Chinese Communist leader Bo Xilai could face criminal charges for blocking investigations into the death of British businessman Neil Heywood,as Whitehall mounted pressure on Beijing to probe the matter.

Law expert Prof Wang Chengwang went on air on state television to explain that as an influential party leader Bo would first be probed by a disciplinary commission before police and judicial authorities take over.

The TV mounted a special programme on the case which has gripped people in the world’s most populous state,as they scan websites for news on the rumbling political scandal.

Bo,who was sacked early this month for indiscipline,is currently being probed by the Communist Party’s disciplinary commission for “interfering” in the investigations relating to the involvement of his wife Gu Kailai and orderly,Zhang,in the murder of their family friend Heywood.

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The disciplinary proceedings are aimed at investigating whether Bo interfered with the probe relating to involvement of his wife and orderly,the law expert said,adding that Bo could face criminal proceedings if charges were established.

The suspected murder of Heywood has raised hackles in his home country,with Prime Minister David Cameron raising the issue during a meeting with a senior Chinese Communist Party official at Downing Street,BBC reported.

The Chinese law expert said on television that “Ordinary criminal cases are handled by police. Party disciplinary commission start investigation into breach of party discipline,(in case of party officials). Bo Xilai interfered with criminal investigation. This is a kind of breech of his governmental and official duty. Therefore case against him is the breech of discipline.”

Gu and Zhang are currently under judicial custody. Local government of Chongqing,a Chinese city headed by Bo till recently,through selective media leaks stated that he was enraged when the city police chief Wang Lijun informed him about the involvement of his wife into the murder.

Bo later said investigations could go on but transferred Wang from the post.

Fearing reprisals Wang,till recently a close aide of Bo,fled to the US Consulate in Chengdu on February 6 to protect himself.

His move set off a nationwide uproar as he sought refuge in the mission of “enemy country”. He later came out after persuasion and surrendered to central police.

Bo’s detractors,who apprehended that he tried to revive old hardline Maoist ideology,seize the opportunity to press for his ouster and prosecution.

Heywood was initially declared dead due to excessive alcohol. The claim was later questioned as he was not known to be heavy drinker.

Ever since the announcement of his sacking,the official media has unleashed a barrage of criticism against Bo.

Besides leading a high profile and luxurious life,his wife was accused of being “soul mate” of 41-year-old Heywood.

They both reportedly fell out after Heywood demanded hefty commission from a huge sum of money Gu wanted to transfer abroad.

A local Communist leader subsequently claimed of supplying potassium cyanide to Gu,which she reported to have administered to Heywood leading to his death.

Also Bo’s son Bo Guagua who studied in Oxford and Harvard Universities was accused of leading a luxurious life with expensive sports cars.

Analysts here say that the Bo and Gu could be formally charged and prosecuted in the coming weeks before the din dies down.

The CPC wants to ensure a smooth election process during 18th National Congress expected to be held in November to elect a new leadership to succeed top leaders,including President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

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