CBI questions CM Gehlot’s aide, MLA over cop suicide amid Rajasthan crisis
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday questioned Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Deva Ram Saini, and Congress MLA Krishna Poonia in connection with its probe into the alleged suicide of a police officer in Churu on May 23, officials familiar with the development said.
The agency officials, who didn’t wish to be named, said Saini was questioned for two hours in the morning while a team was at Poonia’s residence to question her. She was grilled by the same team on Monday as well for about three hours.
Vishnudutt Vishnoi, who was SHO at Rajgarh police station in Churu, was found dead at his official residence in Churu in May following which BJP and BSP leaders in the state alleged that he was under pressure.
Two suicide notes were recovered from Vishnoi-- one addressed to his parents and the other to the Superintendent of Police of the district.
In the suicide note to the SP, Vishnoi had said he was not able to bear the pressure put on him. In his suicide note, he had also said that he tried to give his best to the Rajasthan Police.
A screenshot of a purported WhatsApp chat that Vishnoi had with one of his activist friends, in which the police officer talked about being trapped in dirty politics, had also gone viral.
The leaders of the BJP and the BSP have alleged that the officer, who was known for his honesty and hardwork, was being pushed by Congress MLA Poonia, a charge that she has denied.
CBI officials said that the questioning is being done to clarify certain things and it doesn’t mean that Poonia or Saini are suspects in the case.
The officials also pointed out that Rajasthan government’s decision to block CBI probe in the state won’t affect this case as this case was sent by state government before the notification issued on July 19, which itself says that cases which have been already sent will remain valid.
The CBI interrogation comes at a time when the Rajasthan government is facing political turmoil post Sachin Pilot’s rebellion.
Deva Ram Saini said, “I am extending full cooperation and providing all required information.”
Congress MLA Poonia also said she would cooperate with the investigating agency.