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Key witness in engineer murder case retracts


Lucknow: A key witness in the case relating to the murder of engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta, and involving Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator Shekhar Tiwari, retracted his statement in court Saturday.

Jasvir Singh, a security guard at the Gas Authority of India Ltd colony in Auraiya, had Monday told the trial court that the legislator had not only forced his way into the colony at 2 a.m. Dec 24 but had also made him identify Gupta’s residence.

Singh had also stated that Tiwari appeared to be in an inebriated state.

He, however, backtracked on his statement before the court Saturday.

Gupta, an executive engineer in the state public works department, was beaten to death Dec 24 in Auraiya town, about 250 km from here, allegedly by Tiwari for denying extortion money reportedly demanded for Chief Minister Mayawati’s birthday bash.

On the request of the victim’s family, the trial was transferred to Lucknow.

Gupta’s family members suspect that Jasvir Singh had retracted under duress.

“I have reasons to believe that Singh was pressurized to change his statement,” said a close kin of the victim.

Special prosecution counsel I.B. Singh now proposes to file a criminal case against the security guard.

“What he has done amounts to perjury and he deserves to be booked for that offence,” I.B. Singh told IANS.

Tiwari had confessed to the crime before the Auraiya police but denied his role in the murder when he appeared before an Auraiya court in January.