Patna: The prime accused in the gruesome Laxmanpur Bathe massacre of 1997 Dharma Singh, on whose head the government had declared an award, has been awarded life imprisonment by a local court on Thursday for killing 58 Dalits.
Additional district judge Anil Kumar Singh passed the order and slapped a fine of Rs 21,000 on the accused after finding him guilty of the massacre in Laxmanpur Bathe village of the then Jehanabad district on December 1, 1997.
Singh`s conviction came three months after he was arrested from here after spending nearly 16 years in hiding. The state government had announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for any information leading to his arrest.
Arwal district, which was carved out from Jehanabad in 2001, had also announced Rs one lakh for any information about his whereabouts.
Interestingly, Patna High Court had on October 9 set aside a Jehanabad court`s order of 2010 convicting 23 people in the massacre. The Jehanabad court had awarded 16 accused people the death sentence and lifer to 10 others. Two of the accused had died during the trial and Singh was absconding.