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2003: Madhumita Case
Amarmani, wife pay for murder
Raju William
Tribune News Service

Madhumita, a poet, was murdered by Amarmani and his wife
Madhumita, a poet, was murdered by Amarmani and his wife

Dehra Dun, October 24
The Sessions Court here today sentenced sitting Samajwadi Party MLA and former minister of UP Amarmani Tripathi and his wife Madhumani Tripathi along with two other accused to life imprisonment in the much-publicised Madhumita Shukla murder case. The court, however, acquitted the fifth accused Prakash Pandey for lack of evidence.

In the order passed by the District and Sessions Judge V.B.Rai, Amarmani Tripathi, his wife and Rohit Chaturvedi were charged under Sections 302 and 120-B of the IPC, while Santosh Rai was charged under Sections 302/34 of the IPC. The accused Rohit is a nephew of Amarmani Tripathi. In the chargesheet filed before the court, the prosecution had named the latter as a sharp-shooter. He, too, was lodged along with the other accused in the district jail here.

As per the 401-page order, the court also imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 each on the accused. The court's decision was announced four years after the murder of Hindi poetess Madhumita Shukla that took place in Paper Mill Colony, Lucknow, on May 9, 2003. The list in the CBI chargesheet contained 232 prosecution witnesses, but only 79 finally deposed in the court.

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court had transferred the case to Sessions court here from Lucknow on the petition filed in February, 2007, by Nidhi Shukla, sister of the deceased. The court here had started the proceedings of the case on March 11, 2007, after the accused were brought to the district jail here. Amarmani had successfully contested last Assembly election in UP from the Maharaj Ganj constituency while in jail.

Earlier today, the accused were produced before the court amidst tight security. Madhumani Tripathi maintained silence while being brought out of the court after the verdict and did not respond to persistent media queries. But his counsel Surat Singh Negi told mediapersons that they would appeal in the High Court against the decision. On the other hand, the CBI counsel Baljit Singh said the acquittal of Parkash Pandey would be contested against in the High Court.

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Amarmani wielded clout with successive govts
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 24
Despite all his attempts to take law into his hands, the CBI Special Court on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to former Uttar Pradesh Minister and Samajwadi Party sitting MLA Amarmani Tripathi, his wife, nephew and another accomplice in the high-profile Madhumita murder case, which had for months kept the entire country on tenterhooks.

On May 9, 2003, a 26-year old rabble-rouser of a Hindi poetess Madhumita Shukla was gunned down in cold blood in her dilapidated two-room apartment in Lucknow’s nondescript Paper Mill Colony.

She was seven months pregnant at the time of her murder. Tripathi had managed to cover up his association with the poetess and doctors, apparently under pressure did not take out the foetus from her womb during the first post mortem.

Only when TV channels flashed this glaring discrepancy that the police decided to bring back her body from her native Lakhimpur Khiri district, removed the foetus and sent it for DNA sampling. It was this DNA report that conclusively pinned down Tripathi and also provided the investigating agency a motive for the crime.

At the time of the murder, he had been a minister in Mayawati’s third-term government and considered to be close to her.

It was this confidence that caused him to repeatedly derail investigations by introducing a completely fictitious angle to the case, with help from some friends in the media. The media had run interview of a local priest Pandit Ganga Narain Dixit, who claimed to have solemnised the marriage of the slain poetess with one IIT Kanpur graduate Anuj Mishra.

This was a ploy to kill two birds with one stone - establish that Madhumita was pregnant with Mishra’s child and explain the Mrs A.M. initial that Madhumita had used in her medical records. An old acquaintance and then SHO of Manakpur police station Yagya Narain Dixit had been used to set up the plot.

The nightmarish experience for Anuj Mishra and his family ended only after the priest, following constant questioning, spilled the beans. The fact that both the priest and the policeman who doggedly pursued this angle have died since then speaks volumes of the danger that Madhumita’s family spoke of while requesting the transfer of the case outside UP.

However, despite Tripathi’s clout, Mayawati had handed over the investigation to the CB-CID within a week of the murder. Then a little more than a month later on the personal request of the then Prime Minister and Lucknow MP Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the case was handed over to the CBI.

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