In a major embarrassment to the government at the Centre, Union Minister Mahavir Prasad has been booked for alleged conspiracy in a murder case, a senior police officer said on Wednesday.
The case was registered on the directions of the Allahabad High Court under section 120 B IPC (conspiracy) against the Union minister for micro, small and medium industries in Gagha Police station in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday night, Senior Superintendent of Police Aditya Mishra said.
"What we plan to do is to carry out fair and completely impartial investigations so that we can ascertain whether the facts lead to the case being chargesheeted as murder or again as that of an accident," Mishra said.
"That is our task ahead in the next few days and I am sure within 7-10 days we will be able to clear up the confusion," he said.
Two other accused, village head of Ujjarpar, Rajesh Singh and one Gauri Shankar have been booked under sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of public peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and the SC/ST Act.
According to police, one Subhavati of village Ujjarpar, the native village of the minister, had move a local court for lodging cases against the accused.
She had alleged that the village head and Gauri Shankar were involved in the murder of her husband on January 28 and charged the minister with helping the accused. She moved the high court after the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court rejected her plea.
Police said the case was registered on the direction of the high court.
Earlier, the police had registered the case as a road accident. No arrest has so far been made in this connection, the SSP said.
In Delhi, Congress Spokesperson Manish Tiwari said "currently, it seems as the Allahabad High Court has passed an order but we have not seen the order and if an FIR has been registered, we don't have a copy of the FIR at the moment."
He said after scrutinising the order, the FIR and talking to the minister, "we will come to an appropriate conclusion and respond to it. It is inappropriate to come to any conclusion before scrutinising the documents."
Police said that the Union minister was among the three accused. Also among the accused was Gauri Shankar Gupta, a relative of Prasad.