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Police team visits Joshi's burnt Lucknow residence

india Updated: Jul 21, 2009 18:36 IST

A police team on Tuesday visited Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's house in Lucknow that was set on fire following her remarks against Chief Minister Mayawati, officials said.

The Uttar Pradesh government had on Sunday announced an enquiry by the crime branch-criminal investigation department (CB-CID) into the arson attack, even though the Congress has been demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Led by CB-CID inspector general AL Banerjee, the investigation team spent nearly an hour at Joshi's residence and collected samples of burnt material for carrying out forensic examination, police sources said.

"Yes, as we have been directed to carry out the investigations, we went to Joshi's place this afternoon," Banerjee told IANS.

"We will try our best to complete our investigations at the earliest," he added.

Bannerjee, however, refused to divulge details of the samples collected by the team.

"No time-frame has been fixed for completing the (CB-CID) investigation, which is expected to be completed as soon as possible. After that a report would be sent to the government," state cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh had told reporters on Sunday.

Singh said the decision to carry out the CB-CID inquiry was taken by the state government to maintain transparency in the case.

"The CB-CID probe has been ordered so that no one can point fingers at the investigations," he said.

But the Congress insists on a CBI probe.

"As the CB-CID agency works under the state government, it will act as per the directions of Mayawati, who sponsored the attack on our leader's residence," Akhilesh Pratap Singh, Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson, told IANS.

"Nothing less than a CBI inquiry will satisfy us," he added.

Joshi, who addressed the media in Lucknow on Monday, had said: "If the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government fails to recommend a CBI inquiry by July 31, we will hit the roads across the state from Aug 1. Even the (Congress) high-command has given its acceptance in this regard."

Joshi's house in Lucknow was set on fire on Wednesday night allegedly by a group of BSP workers because she made remarks that offended Mayawati both as a woman and a Dalit.

Joshi was arrested early on Thursday and charged under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. She was granted bail by a Moradabad court on Saturday. Joshi has already apologised for her remarks.