Patna, Aug. 12: An absconder in a murder case, JD(U) MLC Dinesh Prasad Singh yesterday surfaced in a public function attended by deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi in Muzaffarpur but went scot-free.
Singh shared dais with Modi, the chief guest at the function of the forest department (headed by the deputy chief minister), stunning residents of Mutlupur village under Sakra block of the district, around 90km north of the state capital. But Muzaffarpur police did not react and execute the non-bailable arrest warrant pending against Singh, the prime accused in the murder of Raju Sahni, a driver of Choudhary Hot Mixing Plant, in 2001.
Admitting that an arrest warrant was pending against Singh, Muzaffarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajesh Kumar said: "I will certainly inquire into the matter and take appropriate action."
Deputy superintendent of police (town) Upendra Prasad said he had asked the Sakra station house officer to submit a detailed report in this regard.
Singh feigned ignorance about any warrant pending against him. "No warrant is pending against me," he told The Telegraph over phone from Muzaffarpur.
Sources said judicial magistrate (first), Muzaffapur, Santosh Kumar, issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Singh. His wife Veena Devi is a BJP MLA from Gaighat in Muzaffarpur.
The MLC has been charged with opening fire at a place under the jurisdiction of Kudhani police station in Muzaffarpur district in 2001, killing Raju and leaving three others injured. A case was lodged at Sadar police station on the statement of one of the injured, Anil Thakur.
Initially, the police gave a clean chit to Singh and submitted the chargesheet in the court. Thakur, the informant in the case, protested against the police's submission in the court of the sub-divisional judicial magistrate (west), Muzaffarpur, which took cognisance against the accused under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC and allowed the proceeding.
The court had issued summons against Singh in May this year. When Singh failed to turn up in the court despite repeated reminders, the sub-divisional judicial magistrate issued a non-bailable warrant against Singh on August 8.
Sources said the district and sessions judge, Muzaffarpur, rejected Singh's petition for anticipatory bail. He is learnt to have approached Patna High Court for seeking anticipatory bail, they added.
The murder of Raju was said to be the fallout of political rivalry between Singh and Vinod Choudhary, then vice-chairperson of Muzaffarpur Zila Parshad and the owner of Choudhary Hot Mixing Plant. A no-confidence motion was moved against Singh's wife, the chairperson of Zila Parshad then, at the behest of Choudhary, the sources added.