M A I N   N E W S

Pappu Yadav gets life term for MLA’s murder

Patna, February 14
High-profile RJD Lok Sabha member from Madhepura Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav was today sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting the murder of CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar about a decade ago in a judgement that could well spell doom for his political career.

Special CBI judge B. M. Srivastava, who had on February 4 reserved his judgement, pronounced Pappu Yadav, former independent MLA Rajan Tiwari and another accused Anil Yadav guilty and awarded them life terms.

The judge also fined each of the three accused, who were present in the court, Rs 10,000 each.

Pappu Yadav was brought here this morning by train from Delhi's Tihar jail, and produced in a wheelchair because of a festering wound in his leg.

As soon as the sentence was pronounced, Yadav broke down and pleaded for leniency with folded hands. “I have been through severe mental and physical torture in jail and even had to spend time in a mental asylum. Please show leniency and commute my punishment,” he was quoted as having told the court in which the media was barred.

The judge told the fourth term MP, “You always have the option of moving a superior court for relief.”

Sitting in a jail van after the verdict, Yadav, who was elected to Lok Sabha thrice as an independent candidate in 1995, 1996 and 1999 and on an RJD ticket in 2004, said, “Like God’s verdict I have accepted the court judgement” but maintained that he was “innocent”.

Rajan Tiwari, who was elected to the Vidhan Sabha in 2005 and Anil Yadav, a petty criminal, however, showed no emotion, advocates present in the courtroom told mediapersons.

Sarkar, a firebrand CPM MLA, who had a running feud with Pappu Yadav over issued related to farm labourers, along with his driver Harendra Sharma and party worker Ashfaqur Rehman, were gunned down at Subhas Nagar in Purnea town on June 14, 1998.

Public prosecutor Rakesh Kumar Sharma said outside the court that “maximum punishment” (of death) should have been imposed but the court felt that “life imprisonment will suffice in the matter”.

Welcoming the verdict, Sarkar's widow Madhavi said, “If he had got death sentence, it would have been a minute’s affair but this way he will die every moment. If he has humanity in him, he will realise that what he did was wrong.”

Yadav was convicted under Sections 302 (murder) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC for plotting the murder of Sarkar which was executed by Rajan Tiwari and others.

The case was taken up by the CBI after the Bihar Government, under pressure from locals, made a recommendation to that effect.

The CBI chargesheeted Yadav, Tiwari, Anil Yadav, Harish Chaudhary and Amar Yadav on May 10, 1999, on the basis of the statement of Tiwari, who was arrested by the Delhi police on February 12 that year.

Yadav was arrested on May 24, the same year, while three others Anil Yadav, Harish Chaudhary and Amar Yadav were on the run.

The trial in the case began on August 2, 2002, and concluded on February 4 this year.

A total of 61 witnesses were presented by the prosecution 23 of whom later turned hostile. 27 deposed for the defence.

Yadav’s wife Ranjeet Rajnan, a Lok Sabha member from Saharsa, was not present in the court and an aide told PTI that she was away in Delhi with her two children.

Earlier, the Patna Civil Court was turned into a fortress since morning with the police throwing a security blanket on all roads leading to it.

The staircase leading to the courtroom and the corridor in front of it were emptied by the police before the production of the accused. Hundreds of supporters of Yadav and Tiwari, who had gathered looked sullen after the verdict.

A Purnea report said a ‘high alert’ was sounded across Purnea and Madhepura districts following the verdict.

Yadav entered the Lok Sabha from Purnea in 1995 as an Independent and retained the seat in 1996 and 1999. He lost it in 1998. Yadav, who wore his money and muscle power on his sleeve, flirted with union minister Ramvilas Paswan’s LJP in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, but lost to BJP’s Uday Singh only to taste victory a few months later from Madhepura.

Yadav cosied up with RJD in the aftermath of the loss and was rewarded with an RJD ticket after Lalu Prasad quit Madhepura. — PTI



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