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Verdict after 39 years

New Delhi, Aug. 14 (PTI): Delhi High Court today upheld the conviction of two members of the group Ananda Marga for trying to assassinate then Chief Justice of India A.N. Ray near the Supreme Court in 1975, capping a nearly four-decade trial.

Santosh Anand Avdhoot and Sudevanand Avdhoot had hurled grenades at the judge’s car, but the devices did not explode and Ray escaped unhurt. Today, the high court cleared a third accused, lawyer Ranjan Dwivedi, of conspiring with the duo for lack of evidence.

Justice S.P. Garg, who pronounced the verdict, termed the offence “the most foul and senseless murderous attack”.

“Considering the gravity of the offence... Santosh and Sudevanand deserve no leniency,” the verdict stated.

The appeals against the trial court’s judgment were filed in the high court in 1976 but the hearing started in 2006.

The duo were in jail from 1975 to 1986, when they got bail. Other than the 10 years for attempt to murder, they were given another seven years in a separate offence of conspiracy. Today, the high court reduced that to four years. The two will now have to serve the remaining three years as the sentences of 10 and four years are not concurrent.