Forty-five years after former Union Railway Minister Lalit Narayan Mishra was assassinated in a bomb attack at Bihar’s Samastipur Railway station, the family of the former minister has approached the Union Home Ministry seeking Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the ‘bigger political conspiracy’ behind the killing of the Congress strongman.
Vaibhav Mishra, grandson of LN Mishra and an advocate by profession, has filed an RTI application to get certified copies of the reports by two Commissions of enquiry that have separately dealt with the issue.
A commission of inquiry headed by a Supreme Court Judge KK Mathew who was appointed in February 1975 by the Indira Gandhi-led government during that time. The report had accepted the CBI version “in the absence of any plausible alternative." The CBI has said that it had held four people- Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshananda Avadhuta, Sudevananda Avadhuta and Gopalji, in the alleged murder case of Mishra.
However, in 1977, when the Janata Government came to power, Justice VM Tarkunde Commission was set for a fresh report into the matter as they didn’t trust the Justice Mathew report. The Tarkunde report had suggested a bigger political conspiracy behind the assassination of LN Mishra.
“These reports are important as one of these had suggested bigger political conspiracy in the assassination. Hence, we are now relied on the copies of these reports to be given to us by MHA," Vaibhav told News18.
In December 8, 2014, District Judge Vinod Goel had convicted the four persons, Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshananda Avadhuta, Sudevananda Avadhuta and Gopalji for various offences punishable under the IPC, including sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon or means) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt).
On December 15, the judges had announced the quantum of punishment and awarded all four persons life imprisonment. However, in 2015, the Delhi High Court quashed the verdict of the lower trial court and all the four accused were granted bail as the evidence provided by CBI could not convince the High Court bench, as reported.
Vaibhav Mishra has claimed that the four, who were convicted by a trial court in 2014 for the charges of murder and criminal conspiracy, are not the ‘real accused’. He alleges that the real conspirators behind the assassination of his grandfather were politically connected.
“We have filed a representation before the CBI with a demand for re-investigation into the case. The trial court in 2014 had sentenced the accused and in 2015 the accused filed a criminal appeal in Delhi High Court after which they were granted bail and the matter is still pending adjudication,” Vaibhav Mishra said.
“Since, the case still remains unsolved and due to plethora of material signalling involvement of greater political powers at that time in the assassination, we have filed the representation before the agency for proper investigation. We are hopeful that this time at least the real accused shall come on record,” he added.
Five-time Member of the Parliament, LN Mishra held key porfolios including Railways before his death on January 2, 1975. He sustained injuries at a bomb attack at Samastipur station and died the next day. Besides Mishra, two persons had died in the attack.
Over 200 witnesses, including 161 prosecution witnesses and more than 40 defence witnesses, were examined in the case.
The charge sheet in the case was first filed on November 1, 1977 in a CBI court in Patna. The case was shifted to Delhi in 1979 on a plea by the then Attorney General to the Supreme Court.
The accused had earlier approached the Supreme Court for quashing of the trial against them in the case. The apex court had on August 17, 2012 dismissed their pleas on the ground that proceedings could not be quashed merely because they had not been concluded in the last 37 years.
It is also to be noted here that all those four accused are still on bail and the matter still remain unsolved even after over 40 years.