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Soren convicted for murder, resigns

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Union Coal Minister Shibu Soren being taken into custody by the police after he was convicted by a CBI special court in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
Union Coal Minister Shibu Soren being taken into custody by the police after he was convicted by a CBI special court in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Nirnimesh Kumar

4 others also held guilty for murder of his private secretary

  • Judge asks CBI to take accused into custody
  • CBI charge sheet said Jha was abducted in Delhi and murdered in Ranchi

    NEW DELHI: Union Minister for Coal Shibu Soren, prime accused in the case of murder of his former private secretary Shashinath Jha, and four others were held guilty by a CBI special court here on Tuesday.

    Immediately after his conviction, Mr. Soren submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    The CBI's charges against the accused were that they entered into a criminal conspiracy to abduct and murder Jha in 1994.

    The court held Mr. Soren guilty under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 364 (abduction) read with Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

    The others convicted were Nand Kishore alias Nandu, Ajay Kumar Mehta alias Dilip, Pashupati Nath Mehta alias Posho and Shailendra Bhattacharya.

    Two acquitted

    The court acquitted Ashish Thakur and Sunil Khaware, stating there was no evidence against them.

    Soon after the verdict, Additional Sessions Judge B.R. Kedia asked the CBI to take the convicted into custody.

    Hospitalised

    While Mr. Soren was admitted to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, after he complained of uneasiness, the others were taken to the Tihar Central Jail.

    The Judge said he would pronounce the quantum of sentence on November 30.

    The lower court in March 1999 framed charges against the accused. The CBI charge-sheeted the seven on November 10, 1998.

    It said Jha was abducted on May 22, 1994 from Dhaula Kuan in southwest Delhi and murdered in a residential colony in Ranchi as he had knowledge of a bribe paid to four Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MPs, including Mr. Soren, who had voted against the no-confidence motion moved against the P.V. Narasimha Rao Government in July 1993.

    Secret deal

    The charge sheet said Jha was in the know of a "secret deal" between the JMM and the Congress to bail out the Narasimha Rao Government, and that he demanded a share in the deal. The Parliament police registered a case of abduction and murder on a complaint by Amar Nath Jha, elder brother of Shashinath Jha, in June 1994.

    The case was transferred to the CBI, following a Delhi High Court order on a writ petition by Jha's mother, Priyamvada Devi.

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