jai patel

Jharkhand minister questioned in weapons theft case

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Ranchi, Dec 1 (IANS) Jharkhand Excise Minister Jai Prakash Bhai Patel Sunday was questioned by police in a weapons theft case, police sources said.

The role of the minister was under suspicion in the theft of weapons of his bodyguards. Two AK 47s, one 9 mm pistol and live cartridges went missing Nov 23 when the minister and his bodyguards were sleeping in a guest house of Hazaribagh district.

Three bodyguards were suspended after the weapons were stolen. Hazaribagh police took permission of the court two days ago for brain mapping and narco test of the bodyguards.

The two AK 47s and 150 live cartridges were recovered from a pond Saturday.

“I have decided to cooperate with the police after media suspected my role in the case. Police cannot interrogate me without taking assembly speaker’s permission,” Patel told reporters in Hazaribagh Sunday.

“A section of the media and some parties are trying to tarnish my image,” he said.

The opposition parties have demanded his dismissal.

“The minister should be sacked and the probe be handed over to the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). What can be expected from the government when a minister is suspected in weapons theft case,” former chief minister and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) president Babulal Marandi told reporters.

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