21 Breaking News
Aired 28 March – 10:07
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARKHA DAS: The publication of the Jagannath Rai Tapes by Arun Advani has come like a bombshell. Politicians in Lucknow, whose names are featured in the explicit transcripts, are scurrying for cover… In a day of fast-moving developments, Jagannath Rai, the Home Minister of Uttar Pradesh, was arrested for the murders of Vicky Rai, Pradeep Dubey, Lakhan Thakur, Navneet Brar and Rukhsana Afsar, and the abduction of Gopal Mani Tripathi's son… We have our Lucknow correspondent, Anant Rastogi, standing by. Anant, what's the latest?
ANANT RASTOGI: Barkhaji, it looks like the end of the road for Jagannath Rai. For twenty years he has kept the State in his iron grip, conducting a reign of terror and oppression, but finally the law has caught up with him. I think the People's Welfare Party is now paying the price of keeping criminals like him in its fold.
BARKHA DAS: But Jagannath Rai is claiming that all these cases are fabricated, that there is no evidence, and that this is a conspiracy by the Chief Minister.
ANANT RASTOGI: He cannot deny the evidence on the tapes. Now his voice has been confirmed by experts. The Chief Minister has, therefore, moved swiftly to limit the damage.
BARKHA DAS: Very true, Anant. In fact, a short while ago we managed to speak to the Chief Minister himself. This is what he had to say:
CHIEF MINISTER OF UTTAR PRADESH: My party, the People's Welfare Party, is deeply disturbed at the charges laid against Jagannath Rai. If they are proved to be true then he deserves the severest punishment. Jagannath Rai has not only been removed as Home Minister, he has also been stripped of his membership of the PWP. The entry of criminals into politics is an unfortunate reality and every political party is equally guilty. I take this opportunity to call for soul-searching by all political parties. As a first step to cleanse public life, my party, the PWP, has taken a decision that henceforth no legislator with a criminal record will be made a minister.
BARKHA DAS: Well, those are welcome words from the Chief Minister and we hope other political parties will follow suit. Meanwhile, full-scale efforts are underway to track down Mukhtar Ansari, the contract killer hired by Jagannath Rai. A Special Task Force of police is believed to have obtained some vital clues in the case. We shall keep you posted on the latest developments. For now, this is Barkha Das signing off for ITN Live.