Bihar politicians with crime links await verdicts


Patna : For Bihar politicians with criminal background, it is pay-up time and the state is abuzz with rumours about the next head in the line of legal fire after former parliament member Anand Mohan Singh was sentenced to death Wednesday.

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Anand Mohan Singh, who launched Bihar People’s Party (BPP) before joining Janata Dal-United (JD-U), former minister Akhlaq Ahmad, who is now a leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and Arun Kumar, a former leader associated with BPP, all have been sentenced to death for the lynching of an upright IAS officer, Gopalganj district magistrate G. Krishnaiya, in 1994.

Singh’s wife, former MP Lovely Anand of JD-U, Munna Shukla, the sitting JD-U legislator from Lalganj, Shashi Shekhar Thakur and Harendra Kumar, who unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha poll on a JD-U ticket, have been given life sentence.

The much-awaited stern court verdict in the brutal lynching of G. Krishnaiya has evoked a positive response in the state.

“Sooner or later, the legal noose will tighten around the necks of other politicians with criminal links,” said Kanchan Bala, a woman activist.

Businessman Sateyendra Kumar Gupta said: “It is the need of the hour to punish politicians with criminal links.”

Agreed Ashok Kumar Singh, a government employee: “Similar punishment should be given to other people like Anand Mohan Singh to establish the rule of law in the state.”

Documentary filmmaker Arun Singh said: “We are fed up with criminal-politician nexus and the death sentence to Singh will boost the morale of those fighting criminals.”

Like Singh, there are several politicians – including RJD MP Pappu Yadav, JD-U MP Prabhunath Singh, and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) MP Surajbhan Singh – who have a number of criminal cases against them.

There are also criminals-turned-legislators like JD-U legislator Sunil Pandey, independent legislator Pradeep Joshi, former independent legislator Rajan Tiwari and Bharatiya Janata Dal (BJP) legislator Nityanand Rai who are facing several legal cases.

Early this year, RJD MP Mohammed Shahabuddin was convicted in a criminal case. Soon after, he was convicted and sentenced in three other criminal cases. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnapping of a political activist in 1999.

Shahabuddin faces 57 criminal cases, including 52 in Bihar. There are over two to three dozens cases registered against Surajbhan Singh, Prabhunath Singh, Sunil Pandey and Anand Mohan Singh.

Most trials involving these political leaders are in the final stages of hearing or are awaiting judgment.

Pappu Yadav, currently lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail in connection with the murder of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Ajit Sarkar, is also awaiting judgment.

Rajan Tiwari, currently in Patna’s Beur jail, awaits sentencing for killing of RJD legislator Brij Bihari Prasad.

The state government has decided to expedite the trial of Surajbhan Singh in six cases, including that of murder. He is known to be close to Steel Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan.

The government has appointed a special public prosecutor for speedy a trial of Surajbhan’s cases, official sources said.

Surajbhan Singh is being tried on charges of murder, extortion and other criminal offences between 1992-96 in Begusarai district. He is also allegedly involved in the murder of RJD leaders Akhilesh Rai and Ram Udesh Rai.

Early this year, the Patna High Court ordered the transfer of Prabhunath Singh’s trial in a murder case from a Bhagalpur court to the sessions court here to complete it in three months.

Prabhunath Singh, who represents Maharajganj in the Lok Sabha and is a deputy leader of the JD-U parliamentary party, faces over two dozen criminal charges, including those of murder, kidnapping and extortion.