Shourie stands by reports on L.N. Mishra murder

April 3rd, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Former cabinet minister Arun Shourie Thursday told a court here Thursday that he stood by the articles on the 1975 murder of Congress leader L.N. Mishra published by The Indian Express. In his statement in the court of Additional District Judge M.C. Garg, Shourie said he wrote in 1978 about the murder.

He said that erstwhile chief reporter B.M. Sinha wrote the other articles in the daily in consultation with him.

“I stood by those articles… I had also written two articles in the daily about the probe carried out by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation),” he said.

The court summoned him March 12 to depose as a defence witness. However, his cross-examination remained incomplete. The court posted the matter for further hearing to the first week of May.

The case has dragged on for 33 years in lower courts and has been heard by 19 judges - but the court is still recording the statements of defence witnesses.

With its documents running into about 11,000 pages, it is perhaps the oldest case in the files of the CBI.

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 the trial.

Mishra, a confidant of then prime minister Indira Gandhi, 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. He was taken to Danapur 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.

The eight accused in the case are Santosh Anand, Sudevanand, Gopalji, Ranjan Dwivedi, Dinyanand, Ram Kumar, Ramasray and Arthanand. Arthanand has died.

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. A total of 151 witnesses have been examined.

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