Murder accused HP MLA takes oath, says never confessed to crime

The suspended Doon MLA and an accused in the murder of a young girl, Congress's Ram Kumar Chaudhary, finally took oath as the member of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly.

Chaudhary, who has been booked in Jyoti murder case along with four others by Panchkula police on November 22, was administered oath by Speaker Brij Bihari Lal Butail in his chamber.

Evading arrest, Chaudhary had not attended the meeting of the newly-elected Congress MLAs on December 23 and was also absent when the MLAs took oath during the first session of 12th Vidhan Sabha at Dharamsala on January 8. He finally surrendered on January 8 and was sent to Ambala prison by a court.

He was brought to Shimla on Thursday under a heavy security cover after a Panchkula court allowed his request to take oath.

Chaudhry reached Butail's chamber along with his father former MLA Lajja Ram Chaudhry, elder brother Madan Lal Chaudhry and lawyers.

Talking to reporters after taking oath, Chaudhary said that "a conspiracy has been hatched against me by my political rivals to involve me in the case".

"I am innocent and I would come out clean," he said.

Queried about Haryana Police's claim that he confessed to killing the 24-year-old Hoshiarpur girl with the help of four others, Chaudhary said, "It is a police theory and is not true. I have full faith in the judiciary. The final verdict will come from the judiciary not the police."

The MLA also brushed aside apprehensions that with him being in jail, the development works in his constituency will suffer.

"Many people contest elections from jail and also remain in touch with their constituencies and supporters. I have given a list of my priorities on development to the Speaker. I will continue to protect the interests of the people till I get bail, or till the court verdict is out," he added.

Meanwhile, none of the senior Congress leaders from the state were present when the Speaker administered oath to Ram Kumar Chaudhry. Vidhan Sabha secretary Balbir Tegta introduced him to the Speaker as his father, former MLA Lajja ram Chaudhary watched over the proceedings. It was only sometime later that Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur and few other Congress MLAs arrived and had a chance meeting with Chaudhry. Asked for his reaction, Thakur said, "Law will take its own course. The party or the government has nothing to do with it."

HPCC president Sukhvinder Singh has already suspended the MLA from primary membership of the party and his suspension would remain valid till he is absolved of murder charges by the court.

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