Anand Mohan walks out of jail, chief secy defends govt decision

By, Patna
Apr 27, 2023 10:12 PM IST

Anand Mohan, who was released from Saharsa jail before dawn, has spent 15 years behind the bars after being convicted for the 1994 murder of G Krishnaiah, the then district magistrate of Gopalganj.

Former lawmaker Anand Mohan, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of an IAS officer in Bihar three decades ago, walked out of Saharsa jail early Thursday morning, even as Bihar chief secretary Amir Subhani defended the state government’s decision saying his release was “as per legal provisions” and questions being raised over it were “baseless”.

Bihar chief secretary Amir Subhani addresses a press conference in Patna on Thursday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
Bihar chief secretary Amir Subhani addresses a press conference in Patna on Thursday. (Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

Mohan, who was released from Saharsa jail before dawn, has spent 15 years behind the bars after being convicted for the 1994 murder of G Krishnaiah, the then district magistrate of Gopalganj.

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Krishnaiah, who hailed from present-day Telangana and was from a scheduled caste, was beaten to death by a mob in 1994 when his vehicle tried to overtake a funeral procession in Muzaffarpur district.

Mohan, who was then an MLA, was leading the procession taken out upon the death of his close associate Chhotan Shukla, a dreaded figure who was shot dead by his rivals.

The remission of Mohan’s sentence followed an April 10 amendment of Bihar Prison Manual by the Nitish Kumar government whereby the restriction on early release of those involved in killing of a public servant on duty was done away with.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Patna on Thursday, chief secretary Subhani said, “No special favour has been done to anybody. The prison rules are amended from time to time, in the normal course. The clause about government servant on duty was dropped because it was found to be discriminatory. Moreover, we found no other state treating such killings differently.”

He said that the State Sentence Remission Board, which includes two members of the judiciary, has received 1,061 clemency petitions in the last six years during which it has met 22 times. “Release of 698 prisoners has been approved, based on the feedback on conduct of the inmates received from authorities concerned. This is besides special pardons given to first-time offenders, who are serving jail terms of 10 years. Such prisoners are freed on occasions like Gandhi Jayanti, Republic Day and Independence Day,” Subhani said.

He pointed out that Mohan had spent 15 years, nine months and 25 days in prison but parried questions as to whether aggrieved family members of Krishnaiah were given an opportunity to raise objections against his release.

“He (Anand Mohan) spent 15 years nine months and 25 days in jail. With remission, he has completed sentence of 22 years and 13 days,” the chief secretary said.

In a related development, a plea filed in the Patna High Court on Wednesday has challenged the recent amendment to prison rules in Bihar that facilitated the early release of Anand Mohan and 26 others.

“What is the purpose of any such amendment which is not in the public interest? Public servants were not consulted. Those who were affected were not consulted. It is not in public interest. This amendment is arbitrary and unfair,” said advocate Alka Verma, who is the petitioner.

Outside the jail in Saharsa, there was no celebratory gathering when Anand Mohan walked out around 4 am, a jail official said.

The former MP was on a 15-day parole to attend the engagement ceremony of his legislator son Chetan Anand and had returned to the prison on April 26.

On Wednesday, the prisons department released around 14 convicts from various jails as part of the government’s recent decision to free 27 prisoners.

Reacting to Mohan’s release, senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi said the Bihar government was trying to defend the indefensible. “The government has changed a clause in the prison manual to set free a person who was held guilty by the Supreme Court, while it has no sensitivity to set free innocent poor and Dalits languishing in jails under the failed prohibition law,” he said.

Case recap

Anand Mohan, who was the founder of now defunct Bihar Peoples Party (BPP), was leading the funeral procession of party leader Chhotan Shukla in Muzaffarpur on December 5, 1994, when G Krishnaiah, then Goaplganj’s district magistrate, was passing through the area in his official car. A mob, allegedly incited by Mohan, dragged the 1985-batch IAS officer out of his car and lynched him to death.

Mohan was sentenced to death by a trial court in 2007. However, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Patna High Court a year later. He then moved the Supreme Court, which turned down his plea for relief.

In his heyday, Anand Mohan held significant influence among the Rajput community, which he came from. His wife Lovely Anand was elected to the Lok Sabha from Vaishali in 1994.

She expressed relief over his release for which she profusely thanked chief minister Nitish Kumar.

“We are pained by the brutal manner in which an honest officer like G Krishnaiah was killed. I fully empathise with the suffering of his wife. But my husband was not even present at the site of the incident. Had he been there, he would have tried to save Krishnaiah even at the cost of his own life,” she said.

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    Avinash, a senior correspondent, reports on crime, railways, defence and social sector, with specialisation in police, home department and other investigation agencies.

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