The Uttar Pradesh police on Wednesday suffered a setback in their efforts to nail Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, the jailed independent legislator, who was part of the group trying to topple the Mayawati government in the state.
Their key witness has complained to the National Human Rights Commission that he was forced to cook up evidence against Raja Bhaiya.
Hari Om Shanker, 50, secretary of Raja Bhaiya, shot off a hand-written complaint from the Pratapgarh jail to the NHRC as well as the local judicial magistrate. Copies of the letter were later circulated in the local media in Lucknow.
"I wish to draw your attention to the torture I have been subjected to by the Pratapgarh police so that I could become a party to their efforts to frame Raja Bhaiya in different criminal offences," Shankar said in his complaint.
The jailed secretary has described how he was picked up from his house and tortured by the police for two days, following which he was forced to sign documents framing his employer.
He has also charged the police of forcing him to spell out the 'tutored' version before the electronic media. "I was made to lie on ice slabs for two hours and the next day made to stand for several hours in the lake that adjoins Raja Bhaiya's palace in Beti village from where a human skull and some bones the police claim to have recovered," Shankar said.
While the police said they have recovered a skull of a man who was murdered in 2001 allegedly by Raja Bhaiya's men, Shankar has accused the police of planting the skull and bones.
"I was told that after the television crews arrive from Lucknow, I should personally go and guide them to the spot where the skull was planted; I was also told to confess that Raja Bhaiya had got the murdered man buried in the lake," the letter said.
The police claimed that the skeleton recovered belonged to one Santosh Misra allegedly killed by the legislator's henchmen.
The victim's widow, Vineeta Misra, had lodged a First Information Report in this regard last week and the three accused persons were arrested on Monday, they said.
Vineeta, in her complaint, said that she and her husband were traveling on a scooter when Raja Bhaiyya's car, trying to overtake them, hit the two-wheeler.
Irked by this, Misra was allegedly picked up and taken to the Beti palace in the car where he was beaten to death and the body buried near the pond, police said.
The police are also trying to establish that Raja Bhaiya had links with the Inter Service Intelligence of Pakistan.
It appears the Mayawati administration is willing to go to any extent to prove that Raja Bhaiya is a perfect case for the Gangsters Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
With inputs from PTI