11:44 am - Monday November 9, 2015

39 Years On, Ex-Union Minister’s Killing Remains Unsolved

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39 years, over 20 judges, 160 prosecution witnesses and around 40 defence witnesses later, there is still no solution to the mystery behind the death of former Railway Minister LN Mishra in a bomb explosion in Bihar. A Delhi court has deferred its judgement to December; it was to have pronounced the verdict on Monday.

Mr Mishra was seriously injured in a blast on January 2, 1975 while he was at a function to launch the Samastipur-Muzaffarpur broad gauge railway line. He was taken to a hospital at Danapur near Patna, where he died a day later. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which eventually took over the probe into his death, alleged that members of the spiritual sect Ananda Marga carried out the attack on the ex-Railway Minister to pressure the government into releasing one of its leaders. The case was transferred to Delhi following a Supreme Court order in 1979, and charges were framed against three accused in 1981, six years after the incident.

The case has so far seen 22 judges and repeated adjournments till the Supreme Court questioned the delay in 2011. The CBI’s role in the case is also under the scanner, with defence lawyers alleging that the agency repeatedly brought in new evidence, most of it immaterial, as a delaying tactic.

Mr Mishra’s family, fighting a protracted court battle, allege that investigations were botched up.

“I was in Patna on the day of the incident. When my father was brought to hospital, I spoke to him briefly. He told me ‘Don’t worry, I am fine. Nothing will happen to me. The investigations were faulty. I don’t think Ananda Marga was involved at all,” said Vijay Kumar Mishra, son of the former union minister.

The family does not elaborate why it believes the investigation was faulty.

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