Ranchi/New Delhi: Jharkhand Police are probing whether Ranjit Kohli alias Raqibul Hassan Khan, who’s accused of torturing his wife, competitive shooter Tara Shahdeo, and forcing her to convert to Islam in a case of so-called ‘love jihad’, has links with terror groups.
Shahdeo filed an FIR on August 19, saying she was confined to a flat and beaten up by her husband after their wedding last month. Kohli and his mother Kauser Perween, alias Kaushal Rani, were arrested on Tuesday in Delhi after police managed to trace his cellphone. He was flown to Ranchi last evening on a three-day transit remand.
Interestingly, Delhi Police officials told HT that Kohli was given shelter in the Capital by an additional sessions judge (ASJ) posted in Ranchi.
“The ASJ accompanied Kohli and his mother during their journey from Ranchi to Delhi on August 24. Despite knowing that the mother-son duo was evading arrest, the ASJ remained with Kaushal in a guesthouse here,” said a senior Delhi police officer.
During interrogation, Kohli, 37, said that he was born in Patna in a Sikh family but converted to Islam in 2007 on the instructions of a tantrik, Arif Baba. He also said Shahdeo was aware about his conversion before the wedding.
Demands for an inquiry into Kohli’s alleged terror connections began soon after NGO Akhand Bharat filed a PIL in the Jharkhand High Court seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency. The organisation said Kohli could not have amassed his considerable wealth in such a short time without links to anti-national elements.
Ranjit Singh Kohli—his name in 10 bank accounts and other official documents seized by police—has, among other things, three rented bungalows in posh localities of Ranchi, while he owns a fleet of eight luxurious cars and a flat in the city.
“We are probing all angles. It would be premature to say anything about him,” Jharkhand DGP Rajiv Kumar said.
The incident comes at a time when the issue of forced conversions is under public scrutiny. Some Hindu groups have coined the term ‘love jihad’ for alleged efforts by young Muslim men to get non-Muslim women to take up Islam by feigning love for them.
The matter has gathered political overtones in Jharkhand, where assembly elections are likely in November. A Monday bandh called by Hindu outfits witnessed widespread violence in Ranchi.
Some BJP leaders have been flagging the issue of love jihad in politically- sensitive Uttar Pradesh. But a resolution passed by the party at the end of its two-day state executive meet in UP on Sunday skipped mention of the term, indicating that the BJP top brass wants to avoid the controversial subject.
Kohli faxed a few media houses, saying that he was a staunch Hindu and had no links with any Muslim or terror organisations. Minutes after his arrest, he said that he was innocent and was being falsely implicated.
The DGP said police have found no documents that prove Kohli is a Muslim. “We searched all his three residences and questioned the people known to him. No witness has come forward to identify him as Raqibul Hassan Khan.”
Speaking to journalists at her Ranchi residence, Tara Shahdeo sounded pessimistic. “He is an influential man having strong connections with ministers, bureaucrats and police officials,” she said. “The police initially allowed him to flee to wipe away all evidences and now they are exhibiting his dramatic arrest.”