L.N. Mishra murder mystery unsolved after 33 yearsFebruary 15th, 2008 - 1:08 pm ICT by admin
By Ritu Sharma
New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) The case has dragged on for 33 years in lower courts and been heard by 19 judges, but the trial for the murder of then railway minister Lalit Narayan Mishra is still on, making it one of the longest running in the country. The case, with its documents running into about 11,000 pages, is perhaps the oldest case in the files of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
While one of the eight accused, all from the Hindu sect Anand Marg, has died, four defence lawyers have also passed away during the course of trial.
Mishra, a powerful politician of his time was known to be a close confidant of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, had visited Samastipur in Bihar Jan 2, 1975, to declare open a broad gauge line. A grenade was lobbed on the dais where he was present, injuring him seriously. Mishra was rushed to a Danapur hospital where he died a day later.
The chain of events following the attack further deepened the mystery shrouding what was seen as the country’s first political killing.
Mishra was taken from Samastipur to a small railway hospital in Danapur almost 150 km away when better medical facilities were available just 30 minutes away in Darbhanga.
Moreover, the train carrying him was not made to stop at Patna, where he could have got better treatment. It was also alleged that the train was held up at several places, delaying the treatment that could have saved Mishra. Also, no post-mortem was ever carried out.
The case is also the first in the country to have been transferred outside the state by the Supreme Court for fear of destruction of evidence. It was initially being heard by a Patna court from where it was transferred to Delhi’s Patiala House Court and then to the Tis Hazari Court, where it is now on.
Of the eight accused in the case - identified as Santosh Anand, Sudevanand, Gopalji, Ranjan Dwivedi, Dinyanand, Ram Kumar, Ramasray and Arthanand - the last one has died.
The Delhi High Court in December last year dismissed Dwivedi’s plea for acquittal even though he has been behind bars for 33 years.
Dwivedi had last year filed an application under Section 232 of Criminal Procedure Code. Under this section, an accused can move an application for acquittal before the trial is over if guilt is not proven after hearing the prosecution and defence evidence.
In his application, Dwivedi contended that during prosecution no major charges were proved against him.
Gopalji, Ram Kumar and Ramasray are absconding and have been declared proclaimed offenders. The seven accused who are alive are now said to be in their 60s.
About 151 witnesses have been examined and currently the defence arguments are on in the case.