Apex court accepts plea against Soren’s acquittal (Second Lead)

July 26th, 2010 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Ranchi, July 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday admitted a petition challenging the acquittal of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Shibu Soren and four others for their alleged involvement in abduction and murder of Shashi Nath Jha.
Jha, who was Soren’s personal secretary, was abducted May 22, 1994 from Dhaula Kuan in the capital and was taken by Nand Kishore Mehta alias Nandu to a village in Bihar where he was murdered. Tikra Toli is Nandu’s village.

In Jharkhand, an unfazed Soren told reporters Monday that he would fight the legal battle and there was nothing to worry. “I will reply in the Supreme Court. There is no need to worry,” he told reporters in Bokaro.

In New Delhi, an apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice A.K. Patnaik admitted the petition moved by Jha’s family members, including his late mother Priyambada Devi.

The other petitioners are Kavita and Preeti, Jha’s daughters, and Amar Nath Jha, his brother.

The petitioners moved the Supreme Court Nov 21, 2007 and the petition came up for hearing in January 2008 when notices were issued to Soren and four other respondents.

The four other respondents are: Nand Kishore Mehta alias Nandu, Shailender Bhattacharya, Ajay Kumar Mehta alias Dilip Singh and Pashupati Nath Mehta alias Posho.

Counsel K. Sunil appearing for the petitioners said that since January 2008 on one pretext or the other Soren and four others have taken 13 adjournments to delay the proceedings in the case.

Initially, the case was investigated by Delhi police but subsequently Feb 14, 1996 the Delhi High Court entrusted the investigations to the crime branch. With crime branch too failing to make any headway, the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

A trial court Nov 28, 2006 convicted Soren and four others and sentenced them to varying jail terms. Jha’s mother later moved the high court seeking enhancement of punishment.

But the high court by its order dated Aug 22, 2008 set aside the trial court order and acquitted all the five.

It was against this verdict of acquittal by the high court that Jha’s family members moved the Supreme Court.

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