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Madhya Pradesh judge, hearing murder trial, fears 'anything untoward' can happen to him


BHOPAL: A judge in Madhya Pradesh, conducting a trial in the high-profile murder case of Congress leader Devendra Chaurasia, stated that he is under tremendous pressure from the Damoh district police superintendent and his subordinates and has concerns that "anything untoward" can happen to him. 

"The police are conspiring along with the accused to malign me. I firmly believe that the police superintendent in collusion with his subordinates can level false serious allegations against me," RP Sonkar, the additional district judge (ADJ-II) of Hatta in Damoh district mentioned in a recent order, further requesting transfer of the hearing. 

"In the light of the aforesaid facts, the Damoh District and Sessions Judge is requested to transfer the hearing in the case to some other court." The concerned ADJ has also written a letter in this respect to the Damoh District and Session Judge.

It may be noted that the accused in the Congress leader's murder from March 2019 includes the husband, Govind Singh, and several close relatives of BSP MLA Rambai Thakur. 

The ADJ made these observations, in an order dated February 8, 2021,  while recording the police statement on the action taken in execution of the arrest warrant issued for the appearance of accused Govind Singh alias Rabbi, husband of Rambai Thakur, before the court. He noted that the police personnel had not followed the requisite procedure in implementing the arrest warrant against the accused. 

When contacted about the recent development, Hemant Chauhan, police superintendent, refused to comment. "I have not received or seen any such court order," Chauhan told The New Indian Express. 

Devendra Chaurasia, 50, was murdered on March 15, 2019, in Hatta town of Damoh district reportedly for quitting the BSP to join the then ruling Congress in the state. 

The accused included Patharia BSP MLA Rambai Thakur’s husband Govind Singh, brother Lokesh Patel, brother-in-law Chandu Singh, nephew Golu Singh and former Damoh district panchayat chairperson Shivcharan Patel’s son Indrapal Patel.

This is not the first time Govind Singh, a strongman with much political clout, has been accused in a criminal case. Having at least 28 criminal cases on his head, Singh has been convicted and awarded life imprisonment in three murder cases, including a 1998 murder case and two other similar cases of 2005. However, he has managed to be out on bail in all these cases after challenging the trial court verdict in the HC. 

Rambai Thakur, who represents the Patharia seat of Damoh district in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, is among the two BSP MLAs in the state, who were supporting the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in the past and are now backing the current Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government.