|Wednesday, August 22, 2007 (New Delhi)
Former union minister Shibu Soren has been cleared of charges of murdering his private secretary Shashinath Jha.
The Delhi High Court acquitted the JMM leader stating the CBI had failed miserably in gathering any evidence against him.
Soren had challenged his conviction for the 1994 kidnapping and murder of his private secretary.
NEW DELHI: Former Union Coal Minister Shibu Soren, convicted in the murder of his secretary in 1994, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had argued for death sentence to Soren and four co-accused.
The counsel mentioned the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, the terror attack on parliament and the murder of law student Priyadarshani Mattoo, in all of which the death penalty was awarded.
Soren and the others have been declared guilty of abducting and later murdering Jha.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet against the seven Nov 10, 1998, alleging that Jha was abducted May 22, 1994 from Dhaula Kuan in south Delhi and later murdered in Ranchi as he had knowledge of the bribe payment to four then JMM MPs who voted against a no-confidence motion against the Narasimha Rao government in July 1993. The four MPs, including Soren, faced trial for bribery but were acquitted.
The court had held Soren guilty under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 364 (abduction) read with section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. Soren resigned from the government as soon as the CBI took him into custody.
28 Nov, 2006. NEW DELHI: Union Coal Minister Shibu Soren on Tuesday resigned from the cabinet after he was convicted by a Delhi court in a case relating to the kidnapping and murder of his former private secretary Shashi Nath Jha twelve years ago.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who sought Soren's resignation soon after the verdict, promptly accepted it.
Others convicted in the case are Nand Kishore Mehta alias Nandu, Shailendra Bhattacharya, Pashupati Nath Mehta
alias Posho and Ajay Kumar Mehta alias Dillip. Taking a serious note of a Delhi court holding Union Coal Minister Shibu Soren guilty of conspiring to kidnap and murder his private secretary 12 years back, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday asked him to resign.
"The Prime Minister has sought Shibu Soren's resignation," Prime Minister's media adviser Sanjaya Baru said here.
Others convicted in the case are -- Nand Kishore Mehta alias Nandu, Shailendra Bhattacharya, Pashupati Nath Mehta alias Posho and Ajay Kumar Mehta alias Dillip.
Additional Sessions Judge B R Kedia found Soren, who is also chief of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, guilty of kidnapping and hatching the conspiracy to kill his secretary.
However, the court acquitted two others -- Sunil Khaware and Asish Thakur.
Soren, 62, was present in the court when the judge pronounced the verdict.
Earlier, in his tenure in this government, Soren had to resign after a Jharkhand court issued a non-bailable warrant against him in connection with a case of murder during a protest agitation in the early 80's. He is on bail in the case and was reinducted into the Cabinet early this year
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