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Patna high court relief to Nitish Kumar in 28-year-old criminal case

The Patna high court on Friday quashed criminal proceedings against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in a 28-year-old case related to the murder of one Sitaram Singh, who was shot dead during the Lok Sabha elections of 1991.

patna Updated: Mar 16, 2019 03:19 IST
Prashant Pratap
Prashant Pratap
Hindustan Times, Patna
One Sitaram Singh was shot dead near Dibhar middle school under Pandarak police station in Barh on November 16, 1991. Nitish Kumar and four others were named as accused in a case filed by Singh’s cousin Rajaram Singh. (PTI/File Photo)

The Patna high court on Friday quashed criminal proceedings against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in a 28-year-old case related to the murder of one Sitaram Singh, who was shot dead during the Lok Sabha elections of 1991. Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah passed the judgment, that was reserved on January 31 this year.

Singh was shot dead near Dibhar middle school under Pandarak police station in Barh on November 16, 1991. Kumar, and four others were named as accused in a case filed by Singh’s cousin Rajaram Singh.

After investigating the case, police on January 30 1993 filed a final form, exonerating Kumar as no evidence any evidence of his complicity in the crime. The additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) of Barh had also accepted the final form submitted by police on August 5, 2008.

But in 2009, one Ashok Kumar Singh filed a complaint-cum-protest petition in the said case. The then ACJM Barh took cognizance of the petition on August 31, 2009, which was challenged by the Bihar CM when he moved the high court in 2009 and filed a petition, seeking quashing of the cognizance order passed by the ACHM of Barh.

Supreme court lawyer Surendra Singh and advocate Rakesh Singh who are representing Kumar, argued that after the ACJM had accepted Kumar’s exoneration in 2008 itself, taking cognizance of the case on a second occasion is not permissible under law, pleading to quash the cognizance order as well as the entire prosecution against Kumar. They also said a false case was registered against the incumbent chief minister as part of a political vendetta.

During argument, Kumar’s counsels contended that Ashok’s petition stands invalid as he was neither the informant, nor present at the spot of the incident.

Delivering the voluminous judgment of 128 pages on Friday, justice Amanullah said that the entire criminal proceedings from complaint arising out of the Pandarak police station case of 1991, including the cognizance order passed on August 31, 2009 pending in the court of ACJM, stands quashed, bringing relief for the Bihar CM.

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 03:19 IST