Bokaro, Sept. 20: A Bokaro district court today awarded life sentence to former BJP leader Jitendra Mahto and two of his relatives for the kidnap and murder of a coal merchant, who had been his friend and business partner, in April 2012.
Bokaro district and principal sessions judge Gautam Kumar Chowdhry, in trial case No. 275/12, awarded life sentence to Jitendra, his cousin Tulsi Mahto and nephew Ishwar Mahto, involved in the murder of Bharat Mishra, whose coal trade sprawled Jharkhand and Bengal.
Mishra was murdered on April 14, 2012 in Bokaro as Jitendra did not take kindly the former’s solo business venture of cement transport.
The trio were charged under sections 364, 302, 120B and 201 of IPC for conspiracy, kidnapping and murder.
On the fateful day, Jitendra had urgently summoned Mishra on his cellphone to Sector IV City Centre ostensibly for “business talks”.
As soon as Mishra reached Sector IV on his motorcycle, he was forced inside an SUV owned by Jitendra, with one Nageshwar Mahto at the wheel.
Jitendra, Tulsi and Ishwar strangulated the coal merchant with a rope. Mishra’s body was disposed of at an isolated CCL underground mine at Baidkaro jungles in Bermo, 60km from Bokaro steel city.
While Mishra’s body was covered with ash, another aide, Ashok Kumar, took the bike to Basteji village under Sector IX police station, hid it in a bush and covered it with dry grass.
Despite all the camouflage, the case turned out to be tame.
Mishra’s wife Kanchan, who knew he was going to meet Jitendra, soon lodged a case at Dugda police station. She named Jitendra, his cousin Tulsi, nephew Ishwar, driver Nageshwar and aide Ashok.
Police took all five into custody and Mishra’s body was recovered from the Baidkaro jungle after interrogation.
For the trial of Jitendra, Tulsi and Ishwar, the state appointed P.K. Verma as prosecutor. S.N. Dey was defence lawyer.
A trial will be held later for Nageshwar and Ashok, currently lodged at Chas jail.
After the judgment, Mishra’s widow Kanchan told The Telegraph that the trio should have received death penalty. “Jitendra was one of my husband’s closest confidants,” she said.