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Prime witness in Bihar BJP vice president’s murder case shot dead in Bhojpur

BJP leader Visheshwar Ojha was shot dead in a market in Bihar’s Bhojpur in February 2016. Kamal Kishore Mishra, who had testified in court against the accused, had alleged death threats.

patna Updated: Sep 28, 2018 21:17 IST
Avinash Kumar/Prashant Ranjan
Avinash Kumar/Prashant Ranjan
Hindustan Times, Patna/Ara
Bihar BJP leader murder,BJP leader shot dead,Bhojpur
Police said the victim was attacked around 8 am when he and another villager were returning home with fodder for their cattle.(Picture for representation)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker Kamal Kishore Mishra, 35, the prime witness in the 2016 murder of party’s Bihar vice president Visheshwar Ojha, was shot dead by unknown assailants in Bhojpur district Friday morning.

The incident occurred in Sonevarsha village, a stone’s throw away from Karnamepur police outpost. Ojha was also killed in Sonevarsha on February 12, 2016.

Police said that Mishra was attacked around 8 am when he and another village resident were returning home with fodder for their cattle. While Mishra died on the spot, the other man was being treated in hospital.

The murder of Mishra, one of the 10 witnesses who had deposed in court against the accused, is seen as a major setback to the trial in Ojha’s murder.

Mishra’s family alleged that he had been receiving death threats for the past few months, including from the main accused who is still on the run, and that police were informed but had taken no action.

They said Mishra, after repeated death threats, had approached Bhojpur superintendent of police Awakash Kumar barely two weeks ago and asked him to either lodge him in jail or provide him security. The SP could not be reached for his comments.

Ojha’s brother, Bhuwar Ojha alleged that Bhojpur police withdrew Mishra’s security after he deposed in the court in July.

The killing sparked anger among locals, who forcibly closed shops and business establishments at Shahpur. The agitators gathered at the town square and shouted slogans against the police. Police later pacified the crowd and assured them of proper action in Mishra’s murder.

A senior official, denying the charges of Mishra’s family, said they were probing the threat to him when the incident occurred. The officer also said that the murder would not affect the trial as Mishra had already recorded his statement.

Inspector general of police, Patna, NH Khan said that he had instructed the SP to provide proper security to witnesses based on threat perception. He said he had also asked the SP to explain reasons for delay in the arrest of prime accused Brajesh Mishra. “A massive manhunt is on to nab the accused,” he added.

On October 4, 2017, the Patna high court questioned the Bihar government and state police on the “slow pace” of investigation into Ojha’s murder. The court also sought to know why the weapon of offence could not be recovered yet, and why the alleged role of Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Rahul Tiwari was not probed.

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 21:17 IST