The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Law catches up with Bihar musclemen

Patna, Oct. 3: Anand Mohan was sentenced to death today, Mohammad Shahabuddin is serving a life sentence and Pappu Yadav is awaiting his fate in Tihar Jail — Bihar’s feared musclemen-politicians are falling like ninepins.

Additional director-general of police Abhyanand says the credit must go to speedy trials, mostly by fast-track courts working for the past one-and-a-half years. The courts were set up to speed up disposal of criminal cases after Nitish Kumar became chief minister in November 2005.

Home secretary Afzal Amanullah agrees, pointing out that there have been over 2,000 convictions in 18 months.

Today’s verdict, being described as a “watershed” in Bihar politics, came four months after Patna High Court ordered the case to be transferred from the Muzaffarpur district court to the Patna civil court. The court had taken exception to the G. Krishnaiyah murder case being dragged for 13 years. The high court also named Ramshreshtha Rai as the judge who would hear the case.

Deputy inspector-general of police Arvind Pandey says the “right approach of the police towards achieving a good conviction rate” is responsible for politicians being brought to law. Whether it is RJD muscleman Shahabuddin or JD(U) MLA Sunil Pandey, the police have shown “unprecedented earnestness” to take cases against the high and mighty to the logical end, another police official said.

Shahabuddin, his party colleague Pappu Yadav, Pandey, another JD(U) MLA, Dhumal Singh, and Samajwadi Party MLA Devnath Prasad are already behind bars and the law is fast catching up with JD(U) MP Prabhunath Singh and LJP MP Surajbhan Singh. Bihar has not seen anything like this in recent memory.

Many of the men are party colleagues of Nitish, who had promised when he took over that the police would go by the merits of every case and not the “political weight” of the accused.

The Congress and the RJD say Nitish “only stands to get taller in his party” with each conviction and incarceration of “potential rivals within the JD(U)”. Fast conviction of leaders from other parties would also stand the chief minister in good stead as it sends a message of fair play and objectivity.

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