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Statewide stir if arson probe not given to CBI: Joshi
Published on 22 Jul. 2009 12:17 AM IST
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Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi Tuesday threatened statewide protests in August if investigation into the arson attack on her house was not handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). "We do not have any trust in the state government. If the case of fire and arson is not referred to the CBI by July 31, we will launch a statewide agitation from August 1," Joshi told reporters at the party headquarters here. Joshi's house in Lucknow was set on fire Wednesday night allegedly by a group of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) workers because she made remarks that offended party chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati both as a woman and a Dalit. Joshi was arrested early Thursday and charged under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. She was granted bail by a Moradabad court Saturday. She has already apologised for her remarks. The Uttar Pradesh government Sunday asked the crime branch-criminal investigation department (CB-CID) to investigate the arson attack, but the Congress has been insisting on a CBI probe. A team of CB-CID led by Inspector General A L Banerjee visited Joshi's house this afternoon along with a team of forensic experts to collect material evidences from the spot, official sources said. During their two-hour stay, forensic experts collected samples from the spot and videographed some portions of the house, which was set on fire on July 15, they said. Joshi said officials from the CB-CID reached her Lucknow residence Tuesday morning but she has instructed her staff not to cooperate with them. "I will not answer their queries. We will not cooperate with them. We want a CBI enquiry," she said. Attacking the Mayawati government in the state, she claimed it had shown no signs of change in its way of functioning. "Our CM is not doing anything for the people of the state like other chief ministers. False cases are being lodged against political opponents. Houses are being burnt. Corruption is rampant. We have to fight for the rights of the people," she said. Joshi said she had sought an appointment from party President Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the developments in the state. She said she is likely to meet Gandhi tomorrow. In the meeting held at AICC, Digvijay Singh, Joshi, CLP leader in UP Pramod Tiwari and AICC Secretary of the state Parvez Hashmi also shortlisted the candidates for the assembly bye-elections to over a dozen seats in the state. "We have shortlisted the candidates for four seats. We will contest all the seats for which elections are being held," Joshi said.

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