In an apparent bid to woo the Thakur community, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday expanded his council of ministers and re-inducted controversial leader Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya as a cabinet minister.
Governor BL Joshi administered the oath of office and secrecy to Raja Bhaiya at Raj Bhawan at about 10.15am.
Raja Bhaiya, an independent MLA from Kunda in Pratapgarh district, had resigned from the state cabinet on March 4, 2013, following the murder of Kunda deputy superintendent of police Zia ul-Haq, a village pradhan, Nanhe Yadav, and his brother, Suresh Yadav at Balipur village in Pratapgarh.
On March 2, the police officer had gone to Nanhe’s house on getting the news of his killing at the village market place. But when he reached there, a rampaging mob led by Suresh overpowered him and beat him up to death. Suresh got killed after being hit by a bullet from his own rifle that went off accidently.
The police officer’s wife had accused Raja Bhaiya of conspiring in the murder of her husband. Succumbing to the pressure mounted by opposition parties, he had resigned as minister till the investigation was completed.
The state government recommended a CBI probe to ensure a fair inquiry. Besides interrogating Raja Bhaiya, the CBI had also conducted a narco test on him.
The investigation agency gave Raja Bhaiya a clean chit in August 2013, and speculations were rife that he would be re-inducted in the cabinet. Minister for parliamentary affairs Mohammad Azam Khan had also early this week met Raja Bhaiya, apparently to convey to him that the SP leadership was open to take him back into the Cabinet.