NEW DELHI: Union Minister Jayant Sinha found himself in the middle of a controversy after he welcomed and feted eight men who were convicted in the Ramgarh lynching case in Jharkhand. They met Sinha at his residence after their life sentences were suspended by the high court.
The move drew massive condemnation from opposition forcing Sinha to issue a clarification. Defending himself, he said that the Ranchi High Court has suspended the sentence of the accused and released them on bail. "When these people got bail, they came to my house, I wished them well. Let the law take its own course in the future, the accused will be punished and those innocent will be set free," Sinha said.
He also took to Twitter in his defence. "I have full faith in our judiciary and rule of law. Unfortunately, irresponsible statements are being made about my actions when all that I am doing is honoring due process of law. Those that are innocent will be spared and guilty will be appropriately punished," he said.
"In the Ramgarh case (mob lynching), the Ranchi High Court, which is the first court of appeal, has suspended the sentence of the accused and released them on bail while admitting their case. The case will once again be re-heard," the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation said on Twitter.
He added, "I have repeatedly expressed my misgivings about the Fast-Track Court judgement sentencing each accused to life imprisonment. I am pleased that the Hon`ble High Court will hear the matter as a statutory court of appeal to test the correctness of the Fast-Track Court order."
Sinha, who represents the Hazaribagh seat in Lok Sabha had sparked a row by felicitating eight men convicted for killing a meat trader in Jharkhand last year. In a picture that went viral, the Union Minister could be seen garlanding the convicts in the Ramgarh lynching case in Jharkhand at his residence on the outskirts of Hazaribagh.
A Ramgarh Court had sentenced 11 accused, in connection with the Alimuddin murder case in Ramgarh district to a lifetime in prison. Alimuddin, also known as Asgar Ansari, was intercepted by a mob and beaten to death in June last year over suspicions of transporting beef in his vehicle near Bazartand village. The mob later set the vehicle ablaze. Following the lynching incident, section 144 was imposed in Ramgarh.