Lucknow: A sleaze racket allegedly involving some politicians and leading to the murder of a young woman lecturer is not the first of its kind Uttar Pradesh has seen.
Two ministers were forced to step down this week after the prime accused in the killing of Meerut University lecturer Kavita Chaudhary said she was murdered after a dispute over sharing the blackmail money collected from politicians who allegedly had intimate relationship with her.
The murder has only highlighted the extent to which sex and crime have infested politics in Uttar Pradesh.
A leading social activist speaking on the condition of anonymity said; "Ambitious young women, desperate to establish high contacts and acquire status and wealth, often fall into the trap of some politicians who exploit them to the hilt and get rid of them once they become a threat to them."
In May 2003, then minister Amarmani Tripathi was linked to the murder of a young poetess, Madhumita Shukla, after she refused to abort her foetus - confirmed by a subsequent DNA test to be Tripathi's lovechild.
Then chief minister Mayawati promptly sacked Tripathi and handed over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
In the early 1990s, then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary and Bajrang Dal chief Vinay Katiyar was accused of raping a 22-year-old Kusum Misra.
She accused him of illegally confining her in his newly acquired house in Ayodhya. The case made headlines until one morning Misra withdrew her complaint and vanished.
In the late 1980s, it was badminton champion Syed Modi's murder that exposed the mix of sex, crime and politics.
Former minister Sanjay Singh, a prominent politician then, was charged with conspiring to murder Modi with the player's wife Amita.
After repeatedly denying an affair, Sanjay and Amita eventually got married. The court acquitted them and Amita rose to become a legislator and also a minister, albeit briefly.
The murder of Shubha Lahiri in the 1970s had rattled some Congress leaders.
With the urge to get close to the portals of power, this girl from a lower middle class family got neck deep in a sex and sleaze racket involving some political bigwigs. She was killed and her body was found from a drain behind a minister's bungalows in Mall Avenue here.
However, the lust for power and money has not always ended with the elimination of the aspiring young women. Some have thrived.
Said Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) national general secretary Satish Misra: "There are several ministers in the Mulayam Singh Yadav government whose indulgence in sex and sleaze is an open secret. Two ministers have got caught but there are more."
Linked to Kavita Chaudhary are ministers Merajuddin and Babulal of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), both of whom had to step down. They have claimed innocence.
Chaudhary, missing since Oct 24, was murdered allegedly after a dispute over sharing the blackmail money extorted from Meerajuddin. Her body was thrown into a canal and has not been discovered, according to a man arrested Sunday.<table width="252" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tr> <td><table width="248" border="0"> <tr> <td><div align="center"><img src="http://www.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/12_2006/madhumita_shukla_248.jpg" width="248" height="178" border="1"></div></td> </tr> <tr> <td class='Gtext10 lineheight12'> <div align="center">In May 2003, then minister Amarmani Tripathi was linked to the murder of a young poetess, Madhumita Shukla, after she refused to abort her foetus.</div></td> </tr> </table></td> </tr> </table>