The fall of a feudal lord of Bundelkhand

Ashutosh Shukla

India, May 31 -- In his youth, he had allegedly shot dead nephew of former Union home minister Buta Singh in Nainital. It was a sensational incident but Ashok Veer Vikram Singh alias 'Bhaiya Raja' was acquitted by the court in course of time.

Having been acquitted by the court in such a sensational incident must have further boosted the criminal instincts of the man, who went on to keep the entire Bundelkhand region under the leash of his terror till destiny finally caught on with him in December, 2009, when dreaded 'Bhaiya Raja' was demystified and his 'mythical' power, strength and belligerence ebbed out as the long arm of law decided to take on the patriarch from Gaharwar village in Chhatarpur district.

Like most of the criminals with feudal background or mafia dons, Ashok Veer Vikram Singh was also 'popular' in his region and all the mainstream political parties including the BJP, Congress or the Samajwadi Party used his clout electorally by directly fielding him in the election or asking him to throw his weight behind their candidates. This emboldened the man further and he, perhaps, developed a feeling that he could do anything and get away with it.

In 1990, when he contested state assembly election as an indepedendent from Pawai constituency and was awarded election symbol 'elephant', his supporters coined quite a unique slogan to 'attract' voters. It said "Muhar lagegi hathi mein. Nahin to goli padegi chhati mein. Lash milegi dhati mein". (Vote on elephant or else take bullet on the chest and your body would be found somewhere in the valley). Fear or love, he won the election.

In 1993, Congress leadership prevailed upon 'Bhaiyya Raja' to leave the seat for Mukesh Nayak and he obliged. Nayak became a minister in Digvijay Singh cabinet and people would still vouch without Bhaiya Raja's support, Nayak would never have won the election nor has he won any election after that, primarily because he fell out with 'Bhaiya Raja'.

In 1998, 'Bhaiya Raja' was elected to the state assembly for the second term. This time on Samajwadi Party ticket and was elected party's leader in the assembly too. Visitors in the state assembly would look at the bulky man and murmur amongst themselves "He is 'Bhaiya Raja', Chhatarpur Ka Buhubali". (Be is 'Bhaiya Raja'. The strongman of Bundelkhand).

Along with his political pursuits, his 'lechorous' endeavours had also continued. His wife Asha Rani Singh, who is BJP MLA from Bijawar', is a co-accused with 'Bhaiya Raja' in a case relating to suicide by their maidservant, the case which was dug up during investigation of Vasundhara Bundela murder case. Both of them have been accused of abetment of suicide, 'Bhaiya Raja' for sexual exploitation and his wife for criminal complicity.

In his book "India Mafia", Srikanta Ghosh writes that "Bhaiya Raja, who is dubbed as terror of Bundelkhand is reputed to have used pythons to terrorise women to submit to his will."

For a feudal lord sans moderating effect of intellect, studies and good company, imaging woman as a sexual object is quite an obvious thing but going so far as to sexually exploit your grand-niece, aborting her child and then getting her killed in cold blood took away whatever little respect some people might have nurtured for 'Ashok Veer Vikram Singh'.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.