Jharkhand minister Haji Hussain Ansari on Tuesday denied his involvement in the highly-publicised case of ace shooter Tara Shahdeo but admitted that he knew accused Ranjeet Singh Kohli, charged with waging a so-called ‘love jihad’ by right-wing groups.
Tara has accused Kohli alias Raqibul Hassan Khan of duping her into marriage and torturing her to embrace Islam.
Ansari, the minority welfare minister, refused to relent to the opposition’s demand seeking his resignation after his name surfaced in the case.
Addressing the media, Ansari said, “I knew the accused for the last one year by his Muslim name Raqibul Hassan Khan. Let the matter be investigated by the CBI. Things will become clear after that. I am not involved in any way in this case”.
He explained that he never recommended allocation of plantation work to the NGO owned by Kohli.
He said that he had written to the chief minister, also forest minister, and forest officials for plantation at graveyards, educational and governmental institutions but never asked for work allocation to Kohli.
The minister said that in a post-marriage ceremony he came to know about Kohli’s marriage.
“I visited his house on August 7 where I came to know that the marriage was solemnised both under Hindu and Islamic rituals,” Ansari said.
However, victim Tara Shahdeo has submitted an invitation card of ‘Dawat-e-Iftar’ sent by the minister to her estranged husband with the court of chief judicial magistrate, Ranchi, during recording of her statement.
Besides Ansari, names of urban development minister Suresh Paswan and former Jharkhand assembly speaker Inder Singh Namdhari have also surfaced after Kohli admitted during interrogation links with them.
Paswan and Namdhari claimed to have approached Kohli seeking his help regarding court cases of close acquaintances.
Ranchi police on Monday summoned three deputy superintendents of police Surjeet Singh, Animesh Nethani and Anudeep Singh of Nagarutari, Deoghar and Khunti regions for interrogation.
It was alleged that Kohli had close links with these police officials.
Kohli’s interrogation is said to have also revealed his close links with several judicial officers of lower judiciary.
“Kohli admitted he enjoys connections with more than 10 judicial officers of Jharkhand and Bihar. He confessed he often used their official vehicles and bodyguards,” said Ranchi city SP Anoop Birthary.
He added, “We are waiting permission from Patna high court to quiz Rajesh Prasad, the first class judicial magistrate of Sherghati in Gaya, Bihar”.
Prasad was charged of helping Kohli’s mother to escape to Delhi via Patna.
The government on Monday suspended Ajay Kumar, body guard of principal district judge, Deoghar. Kumar was charged of helping and accompanying Kohli during his escape from Ranchi.
Mustaq Ahmad, registrar general (vigilance) of the Jharkhand high court, was suspended on August 28 after his name surfaced in the case.