Varanasi polls get more sensitive

Tribhuvan joins cohorts in Central Jail

Wednesday's dramatic surrender of gangster Tribhuvan Singh and his managing to get himself lodged in the Varanasi Central Jail, has made the Lok Sabha election in the holy city sensitive.

Tribhuvan is a friend of Ajay Kumar Rai, Samajwadi Party candidate from Varanasi. Both are listed members of the Brijesh Singh's gang who, too, has been lodged in the Varanasi jail. All three are archrivals of BSP candidate Mukhtar Ansari, who himself has a reputation as a don.

Tribhuvan had surrendered before the Senior Superintendent of Police, Special Task Force in Lucknow. He was promptly handed over to the Varanasi police, even though he is wanted in a case of attempt to murder registered in the Lucknow Cantonment police station.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, STF, Arvind Chatur-vedi, said: "Since there were more cases against Tribhuvan in Varanasi, he was sent there."

Ajay Kumar Rai, a history-sheeter of the Chetganj police station, had been associated with Brijesh and Tribhuvan in several criminal cases since 1989. He had joined them after his elder brother Awadhesh Rai was shot dead in Lahurabir area of Varanasi, allegedly by Mukhtar Ansari and his men in 1994.

Senior officers of prison and police departments are amaz-ed over the decision to send Tribhuvan to the jail where Brijesh Singh is also held, and the place from which his close friend Ajay Rai is contesting the election against their old enemy Mukhtar Ansari.

Varanasi Range IG Kamal Saxena said: "We are discussing the matter. Besides restructuring the security, we will also see if the dons can be shifted elsewhere."

According to police records, there are seven cases against Ajay Rai two each at the Cantonment and Chetganj police stations of Varanasi and three at the Mughalsarai police station of Chandauli district. Investigations in two murder cases lodged in Chetganj and Cantonment police stations against Tribhuvan had found Rai as a co-accused, said an STF officer in Lucknow.

"Brijesh Singh was shifted to Bareilly jail soon after he was brought from Delhi jail," said IG Prisons Sulkhan Singh. "But he filed a writ petition against his shift to Bareilly on grounds of security. He has also procured a stay order against his shift from the Varanasi jail." The IG, however, said: "There are specific orders to keep a watch on activities of Brijesh Singh and it is not difficult for the prison staff as the Central Jail is less crowded compared to others."

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