Ex minister arrested 9 years after allegedly murdering MLA

Ranchi, Oct 9: Former Jharkhand Minister Gopal Krishna Patar alias Raja Petre was arrested on Monday by the NIA in connection with the murder of former state Minister and JD-U legislator Ramesh Singh Munda in 2008. Munda was gunned down by the Maoist guerrillas on July 9, 2008 when he was attending a programme in a school on the outskirts of Ranchi. Maoist commander Kundan Pahan's name had figured in the killing. Kundan Pahan surrendered in May this year. The probe was handed over to the National Investigating Agency (NIA) three months ago. The NIA team on Sunday detained and interrogated Raja Petre for several hours. His arrest in the crime has exposed the Maoist-politician nexus in Jharkhand.  This is the first case in which a politician has been arrested in the killing of another politician. NIA sources said that Raja Petre became a legislator from Tamar Assembly seat in 2009, which fell vacant after the murder of Munda. Raja Petre had created history in Jharkhand as he had defeated then Jharkhand Chief Minister and JMM chief Shibu Soren in the January 2009 by-election to the Tamar seat. After Shibu Soren lost the poll, President's Rule was imposed in Jharkhand. Raja Petre was again elected legislator in the 2009 assembly poll held in November and he became Minister. Besides Raja Petre, the NIA also arrested Assistant Sub Inspector Sheshnath Singh who is accused of providing advance information regarding the movement of Munda to the Maoists. Singh is in NIA custody till October 15. Singh was the bodyguard of Ramesh Singh Munda.