Lucknow: In a twist to the ongoing probe in the triple murder at a Kunda village in which a senior cop was also among those killed, the CBI has sought the removal of all station house officials (SHOs) posted in the police stations of Kunda.
It has also sought the removal of Additional Superintendent of Police Asha Ram Yadav.
In a letter to the state government, a joint director of the CBI cited political pressure and unease amongst villagers to come forward and testify in the triple murder case as reasons for seeking the transfer of the police officials.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing the March 2 murder of Pratapgarh village headman Nanhe Yadav, his brother Suresh, and the killing, hours later, by a violent mob, of deputy superintendent of police Zia-ul-Haq, who had rushed to the spot.
Kunda is considered the pocketborough of former UP minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya.
The premiere investigative agency sought the transfer of inspectors Nishikant Rai (Hanthiganva), Arvind Singh (Nawabganj), Shri Prakash Rai (Kunda) and Ashok Pandey, the station house officer of Maheshganj.
Sources said that the CBI team noticed the "immense political pressure and influence on these cops" and hence was of the view that they should be shifted.
"These cops are politically loyal and witnesses in the village fear vendetta, so are reluctant to testify before us," an official said.
The letter has reached the state home department, and a decision has still to be taken. The communique has landed the administration in a piquant position, admitted a senior state government official.
"While we would like to be seen as fair there are other considerations in such high profile cases with political ramifications," the officer conceded.
Meanwhile, the CBI team Tuesday interrogated the driver of Raja Bhaiyya and one of his representatives.
Hari Om Srivastava, area representative of the Kunda legislator and Raja Bhaiyya`s driver Rohit Singh were subjected to sustained grilling by CBI sleuths at their camp office in Kunda.
Parveen, widow of slain police official Zia-ul-Haq had alleged that Raja Bhaiyya was a conspirator in the murder of her husband. She also lodged an FIR against the minister, after which Raja Bhaiyya was forced to quit the Akhilesh Yadav government.