Ex-Rly min murder case: Final arguments fail to take off



New Delhi: The final arguments in the 37-year-old case related to murder of former Railway Minister L N Mishra failed to commence in a Delhi court today as the defence claimed they were not supplied with complete records of the protracted trial.

The counsel for the accused refused to begin the final arguments in the case stating that they have not been given the copies of evidence recorded by the court in the case.

The defence counsel also pleaded before Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Vinod Goel that their petition seeking quashing of the trial against the accused in the 1975 murder case of Mishra is being heard in the Supreme Court and the next date of hearing is July 31.

They urged the court that the matter be taken for final arguments after July 31. Advocate Ranjan Dwivedi, 65, an accused in the case was exempted from personal appearance for today while the other three accused Santoshanand Avadhuta, Sudevananda Avadhuta and Gopalji were present in the court.

Mishra was killed in a bomb blast at a function at Samastipur Railway station in Bihar on January 3, 1975, and Dwivedi, who was 24-year-old at that time, was named an accused along with three Ananda Margi members, one of whom has died. Advocate Firoz Ahmed, appearing for Sudevananda submitted that they have already applied for the certified copies of the statements of witnesses as evidence, recorded in the court, but have not received the documents as yet.

He argued that without going through the statements of the witnesses, they cannot start final arguments.

Dwivedi's counsel had argued in the apex court that the extraordinary delay was a sufficient ground to bring an end to the case.

The court also noted that "admittedly, there is no stay on the proceedings of the case by the Supreme Court".

The court, which had on July 9 closed the defence evidence in the case after all the witnesses were examined, is yet to decide the next date for commencing the final arguments.

The charge sheet in the case was filed on November 1, 1977, in a CBI court in Patna and in 1979, the case was shifted to the national capital after the then Attorney General had made a plea in the apex court.

All those charge sheeted in L N Mishra murder case were also named as accused in the attempt to murder case on the then Chief Justice of India A N Ray in Delhi.

Santoshanand Avadhuta and Sudevananda Avadhuta were made accused in the case on the basis of the confessional statement of Vikram, approver for CBI, and they were awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment and Dwivedi was sentenced to four years RI by the trial court in Justice Ray's case.

The convicts have challenged their conviction on the ground that Vikram had retracted his confession.

PTI