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STF zeroes in on Rai killers

AFTER A month-long investigation into the sensational killing of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai and seven others, the Special Task Force (STF) has succeeded in identifying all eight killers.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 00:57 IST

AFTER A month-long investigation into the sensational killing of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai and seven others, the Special Task Force (STF) has succeeded in identifying all eight killers.

Besides Munna Bajrangi, Firdaus and Sanjiv Maheshwari, sources in the STF revealed that three youths were close aides of Bihar MP Shahabuddin. The trio belongs to Varanasi. Other two were aides of Sanjiv Maheshwari, they said. To keep the process of investigation confidential the cops did not disclose the names of the contract killers.

However, the cops were still struggling to exert pressure on jailed don-turned- MLA and main conspirator of the massacre Mukhtar Ansari. The cops have failed to conduct voice test of the don and were also denied police remand.

Significantly, Ansari was named in the case on the same day (November 29) of the incident as the main accused but the STF sleuths were yet to get a chance to quiz the don. In the course of the investigation, it was also revealed that no motorcycles were used while executing the shootout. All eight shooters were travelling in a Tata Sumo and the same was used as the getaway vehicle. The probe so far also indicated that besides A-K series rifles, the shooters had also used .9 mm carbines.

A member of the investigating team, on condition of anonymity, revealed that they were all set to nab the contract killers who had taken refuge in a politician’s house in Bihar. On the other hand, the official said, they had also succeeded in tracing out the possible hideouts of Maheshwari and Firdaus.

Meanwhile, Mukhtar Ansari, who is having a lavish time behind the bars in Ghazipur jail, did not allow cops to trap him in the legal net applying his influence in the corridors of power. Though the investigating team collected vital evidences establishing Ansari’s role in masterminding the high-profile murder, it is still facing hurdles to put the don under the scanner. The official in the probe team said ace shooter Munna Bajrangi, Firdaus, Sanjiv Maheshwari and a few other criminals would have been eliminated if cops had got the ‘go ahead’ signal in October last. Both the Lucknow Police and STF sleuths had recorded conversations of Firdaus, Maheshwari, Bajrangi and Ansari.

During conversation, the gangsters had frequently referred about a major killing and the matter was reported to senior cops. But, neither the Lucknow Police nor the STF got the green signal.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 00:57 IST