Ranchi, Oct 16: The nexus between politicians and Maoists was an open secret. It has now come to be further unravelled with the arrest by the NIA of former Minister Gopal Krishna Patar alias Raja Peter for the murder of JD-U legislator Ramesh Singh Munda in 2008.
Munda was killed by Maoist guerrillas at a public meeting on the outskirts of Ranchi. According to National Investigation Agency sources, the Maoists were given a Rs 5 crore contract for the assassination. The murder mystery was unveiled after a Maoist commander, Kundan Pahan, carrying a Rs 10 lakh reward and allegedly involved in the killing, surrendered in May and divulged details of many other cases. The NIA then stepped into the picture. Till now, the case was buried in the police files. Vikas Munda, the slain legislator's son, had sat on a hunger strike after Pahan surrendered. "More people could be exposed for my father's murder. My father was killed by hatching a conspiracy. Nothing was done in the last nine years to solve the murder mystery. We want justice," Vikas Munda had said after Raja Peter's arrest. Raja Peter had created history in January 2009 by defeating then Chief Minister and JMM chief Shibu Soren from the Tamar assembly constituency, whose seat fell vacant after Ramesh Singh Munda's murder. He then became a minister. Along with Raja Peter, the NIA also arrested Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Sheshnath Singh, Munda's bodyguard who allegedly passed on information about the victim to the Maoists. The arrest of the ASI has also exposed the police nexus with the Maoists, sources said, adding Raja Peter's arrest could only be the tip of the iceberg. Munda's is not the only political killing by Maoist guerrillas. Sunil Mahto, the JMM's Lok Sabha MP from Jamshedpur, was gunned down by Maoist guerrillas in March 2007. The ultras killed CPI-ML legislator Mahendra Singh in January 2005. The police haven't been able to solve the two cases, one of which has been handed over to the CBI. This apart, in October 2007, 20 people including the son of former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi were gunned down by Maoists at Chilkhari village of Giridih district when they were watching a cultural show. The main accused, Jitan Marandi, a Maoist commander, has been acquitted in the case. Two IPS officers, Ajay Kumar and Amarjeet Balihar, have also been killed by the Maoists. There has been no breakthrough in both the cases. Jharkhand Home Secretary S.K.G Rahate, when asked if the other political murders would be handed over to the NIA, told IANS: "We cannot comment now." Sunil Mahto's widow, Suman Mahto, also wants to know the brain behind her husband's killing. The case was handed over to the CBI, which filed charge-sheets against some Maoists, including Ranjit Pal alias Rahul. Rahul surrendered before the Bengal police but the CBI could not obtain his remand. The BJP has demanded a review of the cases relating to political murders. "The political murders which had taken place should be reviewed by the state government. In none of the cases have the final findings come before the people. The state government should hand over the probe to a competent agency to unravel the reasons behind the murders," Deepak Prakash, the state BJP vice president, told IANS. The Congress has demanded that investigation regarding Maoists be handed over to the NIA. "All the political murders linked to Maoists should be handed over to NIA so that the truth comes before the people. The political patronage should also be probed," Jharkhand Congress general secretary Kishore Sahdeo told IANS. More than 400 security personnel and more than 1,000 civilians have been killed since Jharkhand was created in November 2000.