Cops probe govt contracts link in high-profile astrologerís murder

The special task force (STF) is looking into disputes related to government contracts as a possible cause of the shooting of astrologer Ramesh Tiwari at his native place in Oonchgaon village in Sarpataha police station of Jaunpur district on Thursday.

Tiwari, who was astrologer to many top political leaders and bureaucrats in the state, was shot dead by two gunmen dressed as policemen.

Tiwari's younger brother Rajesh, who suffered bullet injuries in the attack and is undergoing treatment at SGPGI, is a contractor and had reportedly obtained contracts using his brother's influence, police sources said.

They said Rajesh had got the contract for construction of a school in his village and another contract of PWD in Pratapgarh district recently. On both occasions, this had led to a dispute between the astrologer and a mafia don, who patronised certain contractors.

Additional Director General (Law and Order) Arun Kumar said the special task force had been engaged in the investigation and they were working on certain disputes mentioned by the victim's elder brother Umesh Tiwari in his complaint.

He said Umesh has alleged that his brothers Ramesh and Rajesh had a dispute with someone over procuring the contract for construction of the Kasturba Gandhi school in their village a few days ago. The complainant alleged that the persons involved in the dispute could be behind the attack, the ADG added.

He also said that Umesh had also mentioned that the astrologer had got an FIR lodged against two persons of his village a few months ago, when a crude bomb was found lying close to his house. The police had registered a case of attempt to murder and filed the chargesheet, but the accused had obtained stay against their arrest from court, Kumar said.

However, the police are concentrating more on the angle of dispute over contracts. The ADG said that some criminals who are running their gangs from behind the bars could be involved in the crime. He has asked the concerned SPs to keep a watch on people visiting these criminals in jail, and when they are brought to the court from jail.

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