The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Death for lynch leader

Oct. 3: Former Bihar MP Anand Mohan was today sentenced to death for the senseless murder of a district magistrate 13 years ago in a rare verdict that signals politicians are not always above the law.

“No, no, we were not expecting this sort of punishment,” PTI quoted a sobbing Lovely, Anand’s wife, as saying sometime after the Patna civil court gave its ruling at 2pm. Lovely has been sentenced to life in prison in the same case.

This is possibly the first time a former MP has been sentenced to death in a country where, according to the report of a watchdog last year, more than 30 per cent of lawmakers aged between 36 and 45 years face criminal charges.

Many of them are from Bihar where G. Krishnaiah, 35, was pulled out of his car and thrashed mercilessly by a 2,000-strong mob led by Mohan before being shot on December 5, 1994. The mob was protesting the death of a gangster in Muzaffarpur when it saw the Gopalgunj district magistrate’s car and set upon it.

Anand, Lovely and five others have been found guilty of egging on the mob. “It was brutal to attack an IAS officer who otherwise had nothing to do with the case,” said Bihar home secretary Afzal Amanullah, who welcomed the verdict as “historic”.

Two of the five remaining convicts have been sentenced to death by additional district and sessions judge Ramashrestha Rai. Three were handed life terms. “The verdict has once again established everyone’s faith in rule of law,” Amanullah said.

But Krishnaiah’s widow, Uma, is afraid. “I fear repercussions…. Those convicted are powerful local leaders who have considerable influence in the present government,” she said in Hyderabad.

Uma, who joined a college as lecturer within two months of her husband’s murder, fears for the life of her two daughters, Padma (18) and Niharika (19), and her own.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, to whose party Anand and several others belong, refused to comment on the ruling. He merely said the party would at the right time discuss possible action against convicted leaders.

“We are going to challenge the order,” said Anand, who typifies the criminal politician in the country. Described as “bahubali (muscleman)”, he has a reputation for trying to intimidate police officials and faces several criminal cases, including extortion.

Anand, former RJD MLA Akhlaq Ahmed and JD (U) leader Arun Kumar were given death for murder and attempt to murder — charges under which the other four have also been convicted.

The three handed life terms with Lovely are JD (U) MLA Vijay Kumar Shukla alias Munna Shukla and party leaders Harendra Kumar and Shashi Shekhar.

They have also been found guilty of rioting and causing damage to property. All seven, convicted on Monday, have been sentenced to five years’ rigorous imprisonment and one year in jail. The sentences will run concurrently.

A fine of Rs 25,000 has been slapped on each convict. Half of the total amount will go to Krishnaiah’s widow and the other half to the state.

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