Bihar’s health minister Tej Pratap Yadav on Friday reiterated that he could not be held responsible for each person he was photographed with as there was no way for public representatives to know the credentials of each of the hundreds who seek a snap with them.
He was responding to a Supreme Court notice on photographs showing him with Mohammad Kaif and Javed Mian, alleged sharp shooters and suspects in the murder of Hindustan’s journalist in Siwan, Rajdeo Ranjan.
“I am a public representative and get photographed with hundreds of people. How can I know who is a criminal? Is it written on somebody’s forehead that the person is a history sheeter?” he asked.
Yadav went a step further to suggest that the BJP also ought to be given a notice as many of its top leaders have been seen in photos with criminals recently.
The apex court had issued the notice to Yadav on Friday while hearing a petition filed by Ranjan’s wife, Asha, who is seeking a transfer of the murder case to Delhi.
“If the SC has issued a notice, I respect it,” Yadav said.
In her petition, Asha Ranjan said she feared for her life and those of her family as the suspect Kaif is not under arrest and was even photographed with a state cabinet minister.
Reports said the apex court also served a notice to Siwan strongman Mohammed Shahabuddin, who was also photographed with Kaif after his recent release from jail.
Some day ago, Kaif surrendered in court in an extortion case after police apparently mounted pressure on him and attached his property to the case. He was also questioned for Ranjan’s murder, a case that has been taken over by the CBI now.
Meanwhile, state spokesperson for the Janata Dal (United), Ajay Alok, also reiterated that it was difficult for politicians, actors and celebrities to ascertain the credentials of people being photographed with them.
“In these times, it has become common for people to get photographed with bigwigs. And, it’s the case with leaders of all political parties. Even BJP leaders were seen in pictures with Kaif,” he said.