L N Mishra murder case: Four convicts get life term

L N Mishra murder case: Four convicts get life term

Four men, convicted for killing the then Railway Minister Lalit Narayan Mishra and two others in a blast in Bihar's Samastipur railway station nearly 40 years back, were today awarded life imprisonment by a Delhi court.

District Judge Vinod Goel handed down the jail term to Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshanand, Sudevanand and Gopalji who were convicted for offences under various provisions of the IPC, including sections 302 (murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon or means), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

"I am awarding life imprisonment to Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshanand, Sudevanand and Gopalji," the judge said in a jampacked courtroom.

Besides the jail term, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each on Santoshanand, 75, and Sudevanand, 79, while a fine of Rs 20,000 each was slapped on Dwivedi, 66 and Gopalji, 73.

The court, in its judgement, directed the Bihar Government to pay a compensation of Rs five lakh each to the legal heirs of Mishra and two other victims who had died in the incident.

It also asked the Bihar government to pay a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh each to the family members of seven persons who had sustained grievous injuries and Rs 50,000 each to the kin of 20 others who had received simple injuries in the incident.

The judge said that the compensation will be given by the state government through the state legal services authority.

The four convicts were also held guilty for possessing hand grenades under the Explosive Substances Act.

During the arguments on quantum of sentence in the case, the CBI had left it to the discretion of the court whether the convicts deserved death penalty.

The court had on December 8 had convicted three Ananda Margas and Dwivedi for
conspiring and killing Mishra and two others in a blast at the Samastipur railway station on January 2, 1975.

The four convicts were taken into custody on December 8 after their conviction.
Ananda Marga group claims to be a global, spiritual and social service organisation. The organisation was banned for less than two years after Mishra's assassination.

The case was first handled by the Bihar Police and after few days it was handed over to the State CB-CID branch and the court proceedings were held at Samastipur.

The case was later transferred to CBI which on November 1, 1977 filed a charge sheet in a special court at Patna.

The case was shifted to Delhi on the directions of the Supreme Court on December 17, 1979 as first case in the country to have been transferred outside the state for fear of destruction of evidence.

A total of 213 witnesses were examined in the case which included 163 from prosecution's side, 43 from accused' side and nine were called for their testimony as court witnesses. 6000 pages of evidence were recorded in the case

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