The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sunset brings Soren out

Ranchi/Jamtara, Sept. 8: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief and former Union coal minister Shibu Soren was released this evening from the camp jail at Jamtara, where he was lodged since August 2.

Though granted bail by Jharkhand High Court in the Chirudih massacre case of 1975 and Kudko double murder case of 1974, it took three days for the formalities to be completed.

The Jamtara jail authorities received the release order from the Giridih court this evening. Party workers thronged the camp jail right from the morning expecting Soren's release. But it was a long wait for them as it was only after sunset that Soren could come out from behind the bars.

The Giridih court today accepted the bail bonds of Soren in the 1974 double murder. The first additional district and sessions judge Manoranjan Kavi accepted the two bail bonds of Rs 1.5 lakh each filed by Sudip Kumar Sonu and Sanjay Kumar Kandway, Soren's counsel Jai Prakash Rai said.

The lower courts at Jamtara and Giridih had earlier rejected the bail petitions filed on behalf of Soren, following which his lawyers moved the high court.

'The release order could have been given by the court on Friday itself. Since the passport of Soren is in the custody of the CBI, which is probing disappearance of his private secretary Shashinath Jha, it was difficult to deposit it in the court,' Rai said.

Soren will have to make a personal appearance tomorrow before the 1st additional district and sessions judge court in Giridih.

After his release, Soren drove straight to the party office in Mihijam from the camp jail where a tumultuous welcome awaited him. 'Jail ka tala toot gaya, Sibu Soren chhoot gaya,' shouted party workers who mobbed him at the jail gate.

'I have spent a long time in the jail and the people now know about the evil designs hatched by the ruling NDA, led by the BJP. Every citizen of the state knows that the BJP has unleashed vendetta against me,' he told his supporters.

The Dumka MP and nine others were named accused in the three-decade-old Giridih double murder case in which mob violence led to the deaths.

While the eight other accused had been acquitted in 1986, a separate trial is going on for the JMM chief and one Jhari Mahto.

In Dhanbad, Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay said Soren would not be the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress in the next Assembly elections as there was no alliance with the JMM so far.

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