UP BJP leader plotted his own murder: Police

In a bizarre case, the Lakhimpur police have claimed that a local BJP leader contracted two men, including one of his friends, to eliminate him so that his family could get the insurance money and pay back his pending loans. Shocked by the police theory, the family and local BJP leaders have demanded an inquiry by the Crime Branch-CID, but the police say their claim is foolproof and there is no need of re-investigation.

On September 20, the body of Harish Gupta, a former district vice-president of the BJP and a cloth merchant into his fifties, was found near a road, a few kilometres away from Lakhimpur town. The body had a gunshot wound in the back, and his mouth was tied by a scarf. His motorbike was found lying on his body, said Lakhimpur station officer Kunwar Prabhat Singh.

The police lodged a case of murder against unidentified persons on the complaint of Gupta's friend Kishor Kumar. On Friday, the police claimed to have arrested one of the two main accused involved in Gupta's killing. It was Shatrughan Lodh, a Block Development Committee member of Phool Behar block, who is currently associated with the BJP and according to police had also been friends with Gupta for more than a decade.

Singh said Gupta had given Rs 10,000 to Shatrughan on September 17 to get himself killed. Shatrughan had also introduced Ram Asrey, a farmer from Phool Behar, to Gupta as the person who was going to execute the hit and gave him Rs 4,500 in advance, the station officer said.

On Saturday, the police claimed to have recovered the country-made gun used for the murder from a cane field near the spot. On Sunday, the police arrested Ram Asrey from near Kachehari in Lakhimpur town. Singh said Ram Asrey has revealed in his interrogation that he was given the money by Shatrughan to get Gupta killed.

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