Mafioso-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari who represents Mau in the Uttar Pradesh assembly is on the radar of Bihar police in connection with the murder of Siwan-based journalist Rajdeo Ranjan.
Bihar police arrested five people in connection with the murder on Wednesday but the prime suspect Laddan Mian remained at large.
A police officer probing the case said: “Laddan is a trusted aide of jailed gangster Shahabuddin. He had escaped to UP in search of a safe hideout.”
“The relationship between Shahabuddin and Mukhtar is well known. Laddan fled from Siwan immediately after the journalist was killed and might have been provided a hideout by the associates of Mukhtar active in the Mau-Ghazipur districts (in eastern Uttar Pradesh). We are working on the inputs provided by intelligence department about the movement of Laddan across the border in UP,” he said.
Though Mukhtar Ansari is in Agra jail, the members of his gang are well entrenched in the districts of east UP. The role of Mukhtar and Shahabuddin gangs came to light in the murder of BJP leader Krishnanand Rai, Congress leader Chand Singh Brar in Haryana as well as in the killing of members of the Brijesh Singh gang in Varanasi.
“Both the gangs exchange weapons and shooters to carry out killings in Bihar and UP,” a police officer said.
Talking to HT, superintendent of police (Siwan) Saurav Kumar Sah said, “The police have launched a manhunt for Laddan Mian. We would seek assistance of the UP police to nab the criminal who is on the run. Earlier too, UP police had assisted in nabbing criminals and killers wanted by Bihar police,” he said.
Rajdeo Ranjan, district bureau chief of the Hindi Daily Hindustan in Siwan (Bihar), was shot dead on the busy Station Road on May 13.
The brutal murder of the journalist had sparked a national outcry. When pressure mounted for action against Shahabuddin, the Bihar government shifted him from Siwan to Bhagalpur jail. Earlier, police arrested Upendra Singh, an aide of Shahabuddin, accused in the murder of Srikant Bharti, press adviser of BJP MP Om Prakash.
Ranjan had received a photograph from Siwan jail of Shahbuddin meeting Bihar social welfare minister Abdul Ghafur on the district jail premises. The photograph had gone viral on the social media.