Nawada: The reappearance of a man said to be dead has raised hopes for justice among five members of a family who were convicted for his "murder" over a dispute 19 years back.
Naresh Singh, a native of Shakarpura village in Nawada district, and his three brothers -- Indradev, Surendra and Chhotan -- along with nephew Lalan, were arrested for allegedly kidnapping and subsequently murdering fellow villager Uma Singh alias Gopal Das (70) in 1995.
The complaint in the matter was filed by Uma Singh's son, Vijay Singh, and, five years later, a local court awarded the life term to the five accused.
Naresh and his convicted family members, however, did not give up their quest for justice, which finally led them to tracking Uma Singh down in Punjab after he had escaped there taking advantage of a bail he received while himself serving a sentence for murder.
To make a foolproof case against Naresh and his kin, the complainant even had his father's last rites performed while Uma Singh fled to Punjab.
Ten months after they were convicted, Naresh and his convicted kin were granted bail by Patna High Court.
Looking to clear their name, they soon came to know that Uma Singh was residing in Punjab under the assumed name of Gopal Das and was attached to a temple as a mahant (priest).
They also found out that Uma Singh's sons frequently visited their father in Punjab and, to confirm it, they went there a few times and identified the "dead" man with the help of locals.
They thereafter informed Nawada police about the matter who in turn contacted their counterparts in Punjab following which Uma Singh was arrested from Mohali last month.
A police team then went to Punjab and brought Uma Singh back and produced him before a local court on November 1.
Reports quoting Naresh's counsel said that Uma Singh has been "remanded in judicial custody for two weeks" while the matter has been posted for a hearing on November 15.
"We are relieved that Uma Singh has been found alive... We are also optimistic about getting justice from court for a crime which we did not commit in the first place," said Naresh.
"Our family has faced difficulties since we were falsely framed," added Naresh, who practises agriculture.