Three persons were on Saturday sentenced to life imprisonment by a special CBI court for murdering NHAI engineer Satyendra Dubey, the young whistleblower who had exposed corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral highway project in Bihar in 2003.
Special CBI court judge Raghvendra Singh found Mantu Kumar, Udai Kumar, Pinku Ravidas guilty of murdering the 31-year-old IIT-Kanpur graduate and awarded life term to them.
Satyendra Dubey, a project engineer of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) who had exposed several cases of large-scale flouting of rules and corrupt practices in the construction project, was gunned down in the early hours of November 27, 2003 in front of the Circuit House in Gaya when he was going to his residence after alighting from a train from Varanasi.
Mantu was convicted under sections for murder (Section 302 IPC), voluntary causing hurt in committing robbery (Section 394 IPC) and the Arms Act for possessing unlicensed weapon.
The other two accused were convicted of murder committed in furtherance of common intention (Section 302/34 IPC) and also for voluntary causing hurt in committing robbery.
After the three were convicted on March 22, Dhananjay Dubey, brother of the victim, had said he was “really disappointed” as those convicted were “purely innocent” and claimed that the real culprits were still on the loose.
Satyendra Dubey had even written directly to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee detailing the financial and contractual irregularities in the construction project.
The murder had sparked protests across the country amidst calls for a legislation to protect whistleblowers who expose corruption.
The CBI, which had taken over the investigation of the case from Bihar police on December 14, 2003, had filed a charge sheet in the case on September 3, 2004.
During the investigation, CBI arrested four persons, namely Mantu, Udai, Pinku and Sharvan Kumar, all residents of Katari village in Gaya, the investigating agency said.
“They had all assembled near Circuit House, Gaya on the fateful intervening night of November 26/27, 2003. Around 3.30 am on November 27 when (Satyendra) Dubey was passing in front of Circuit House, Gaya in a cycle-rickshaw, the accused persons robbed him of his belongings and during the ensuing scuffle, Mantu shot him dead with a country-made weapon,” it said in a statement in New Delhi.
The CBI said a briefcase containing documents belonging to Satyendra Dubey including his Identity Card were recovered from an abandoned well and also the country-made pistol was recovered during investigation.
The agency said Sharvan gave full and voluntary disclosure about the incident and was made an approver.