A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Ghaziabad has rejected a closure report and ordered further investigation against all suspects including two former UP ministers, Kiran Pal and Chaudhary Babu Lal. Their names had come up as suspects during the CBI investigation into the abduction and murder of Kavita Chaudhary aka Kavita Rani, 29, an ad hoc lecturer of Chaudhary Charan Singh University in 2006.
CBI special judge Anil Kumar Jha on July 23 directed for further investigation in terms of “larger conspiracy” involving all suspects. The court also directed that the investigation be conducted by an officer above the rank of superintendent of police and a progress report be filed within three months.
In 2006, after Kavita disappeared on October 23, a case was registered at Siyana in Bulandhshahr, which was later transferred to Civil Lines at Meerut. As preliminary investigation had hinted at the involvement of high-profile politicians in the conspiracy, the UP government handed over the case to CBI.
Later, the CBI arrested and filed a chargesheet against Kavita’s close associate and prime accused Ravinder Pradhan, his nephew Ravinder and their aides Sultan Singh, Yogesh and Ashok Kumar, on charges of criminal conspiracy, murder, extortion, abduction and destruction of evidence on March 3, 2007.
As per the chargesheet, the five men kidnapped Kavita from Bulandshahr on October 23, 2006, and sedated and strangled her before disposing off her body in a canal at Bulandshahr. The body could never be recovered.
During the initial CBI probe, names of former minister Mairajuddin, then minister for food processing, Chaudhary Babu Lal, then basic education minister Kiran Pal, and a senior official of Meerut University had also cropped up.
After his arrest in December 2006, Pradhan had said that he had murdered the lecturer with the help of his associates because she had been pestering him for a higher share of the Rs 35 lakh allegedly taken from Mairajuddin. It was alleged that Kavita and Pradhan had blackmailed him on the basis of a CD they had of him and forced him to shell out Rs 35 lakh.
During the course of the trial, Pradhan died under mysterious circumstances inside Ghaziabad’s Dasna jail on May 29, 2008.
Later, in September 2011, the Ghaziabad court convicted his nephew Ravinder, and aides Sultan Singh and Yogesh and sentenced them to life imprisonment. However, Ashok was acquitted as he was charged only for criminal conspiracy and had spent more than three years in jail by that time.
In a related investigation, the CBI had on May 3, 2011, submitted a closure report against several suspects including Lal and Singh. The report stated that no connection could be established between Kavita and Mairajuddin and even the polygraph tests of Lal and Singh did not yield any results. While nothing emerged from Lal’s narco, Singh refused to undergo narco analysis altogether.
However, Kavita’s family contended that the CBI’s investigation was lax on various points and there was a high probability of the suspects having hired paid killers for Kavita. Last week, the CBI court ordered for a further investigation against all suspects including Lal and Singh.