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Audio tapes expose murky nexus that led to UP bizman's murder
Lucknow, Sep 16 - The leak of five audio tapes on social media has now given a murky turn to the murder of Mahoba businessman, Indrakant Tripathi, who succumbed to gunshot wounds on Sunday
Mahoba superintendent of police, Mani Lal Patidar, was suspended for corruption less than 24 hours after Tripathi, who blew the whistle on the IPS officer, was found inside his car with a bullet in his neck.
Four taped conversations purportedly of the slain businessman, before he was shot at, provide a damning insight into the extortion racket involving politicians, police and district administration over stone mining at Bundelkhand.
The first conversation is between a trader, local MLA and unidentified persons, while the fifth is between Tripathi's cousin, Brijesh Shukla, and a criminal, Ashu Bhadauria.
In one of the audios, whose veracity is yet to be established, Tripathi is heard talking to an unknown person on phone and saying - "Jo demand SP saheb ki wo hi demand DM ki hai. Rs 5 lakh SP, Rs 5 lakh DM aur Rs 5 lakh baki sab. Hum kya khayenge? (The demands of SP and DM are same. Both want Rs 5 lakh each and others Rs 5 lakh. What will we eat and how will we survive?)."
In the same audio, the unknown caller is heard saying he paid Rs 6 lakh to the SP in June and July, but when stone crushing work was stopped by the administration, he could not cough up more.
In another 4.26-minute audio, Tripathi is heard telling a colleague that he met SP Mahoba for the first time and told him "Aapki hi chhatra chhaya main ji rahe hain, aap jaisa bolenge waisa karenge (I am living under your patronage. Whatever you say will be done)."
In the same audio, Tripathi says he never visited the SP to pay bribe, but would be assigned a desolate spot, where the amount would be handed over to a henchman.
Similarly, in another 28-second audio, Tripathi is heard saying he has paid Rs 5 lakh bribe to SP and another Rs 1 lakh to station officer.
In subsequent conversations, Tripathi is heard chatting with an MLA and complains how he was being coerced to cough up Rs 6 lakh by the Mahoba SP, Mani Lal Patidar.
In yet another audio of 1.49 minutes, made just hours before Tripathi was shot at on September 8, local goon Bhadauria is heard telling the businessman's nephew that Raja Saheb (SP Mahoba) is very annoyed.
"Track down your uncle Indrakant. If you do not find out his whereabouts, you will suffer the consequences," the criminal is heard saying.
Arun Srivastava, who took over as Mahoba SP after his predecessor was suspended, told reporters these audios are being verified.
"An officer of the rank of DSP is probing the case," he said.
UP DGP Hitesh Chandra Awasthi, meanwhile, said that a three-member SIT has been set up to probe the murder of businessman, Indrakant Tripathi, and the circumstances responsible for it.
It may be recalled that on September 8, Tripathi was shot at by unidentified persons, hours after he made a video viral, accusing then SP Mahoba Mani Lal Patidar of extortion and even alleged if anything happened to him, Patidar should be held responsible.
Tripathi succumbed to injuries on September 13 during treatment in Kanpur.
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