PATNA: Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has sparked a row by writing a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh urging him to prevent "treatment like a criminal" with former JD(U) legislator Raju Kumar Singh, who was arrested for shooting a woman architect dead in a Delhi farmhouse.
Raju Kumar Singh, who has been in BJP since 2015, his wife Renu Singh, a former MLC in Bihar, and Raju's driver Hari Singh were arrested earlier this month in connection with the death of Archana Gupta in celebratory firing by Raju on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1.
The former MLA and his driver were sent to seven-day police custody by a Delhi court recently.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a former Union rural development minister who is currently RJD's national vice-president, said the seven-day police custody was unwarranted and described Raju Singh's crime as a "mistake" and a "result of childish activities".
"Everyone knows what really happened. It was a mistake. Raju Singh is a former MLA. Even his wife, who is a former MLC, has been arrested. Was she also firing shots?" said Raghuvansh when asked about his letter to the Union home minister.
"My letter has nothing to do with the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. I have earlier spoken both against him and in his favour, depending on what I believed was right. When he had once beaten up some people, I had demanded his arrest.
Admitting that he requested Rajnath Singh to ensure that "treatment like a criminal" is not meted out with Raju Singh, Raghuvansh said: "The former MLA has been sent for seven-day police remand. Was his crime a part of some conspiracy? Is it a case of terrorism?"
"What happened (at the farmhouse) was a result of childish activities that went wrong. The year 2018 was ending and the new year 2019 was stepping in. They were all rejoicing," said Raghuvansh.
Sources said Raju Singh, who was elected twice as an MLA from Bihar's ruling JD(U) in Sahebganj constituency, is an upper-caste leader who wields significant hold on voters in the area, which falls in Vaishali Lok Sabha constituency.
Raghuvansh, who belongs to the same caste as Raju Singh, has represented Vaishali in Lok Sabha five times and is set to contest from there in the upcoming polls.
Political parties in Bihar cutting across party lines maintained silence on Raghuvansh's letter.
Raju Singh faces five cases in Bihar for charges including criminal intimidation and an attempt to murder. His 2015 election affidavit said his total assets amount to Rs 3 crore.