Former Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren was Tuesday a much relieved man after his acquittal in a 1974 double murder case — the last of the three murder cases against the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief.
Tuesday’s acquittal has brought great relief to the JMM chief, who has been fighting legal battles for the last 36 years.
“I am feeling very relieved. ‘Sach ki jeet honi thi’ (truth had to win) and that has happened,” Soren, a Lok Sabha MP, told reporters after the verdict.
A fast track court in Giridih district Tuesday acquitted Soren in the double murder case for lack of evidence. It relates to the April 1974 murder of two people following a dispute over the killing of two goats. Soren was accused of inciting a mob to kill Chundi Singh and Khirodhar Singh, who allegedly stole two goats, in Kodko village of Giridih.
There were 10 accused in the case. The chargesheet against the accused, including Soren, was filed in 1978. Eight accused were acquitted in 1986 and one died during trial.
The case against Soren was pending as he failed to appear in court earlier. A warrant against him surfaced in 2004 and he then surrendered. He was later released on bail.
In 2007, he was acquitted in the Chirudih murder case, related to the killing of 11 people including nine Muslims in a movement launched to drive away ‘dikus’ or outsiders. In 1975, Soren was charged with inciting a mob to kill 11 people and burn their houses.
A warrant in the case surfaced in July 2004, when Soren was the union coal minister. He surrendered in a Jamtara district court on the court’s directive. In 2007, Soren was finally acquitted in the Chirudih massacre in the absence of evidence.
The third case relates to the 1994 murder of Soren’s personal secretary Shashinath Jha. Soren was convicted and awarded life imprisonment by a court in New Delhi in October 2006. In 2008, the Delhi High Court acquitted Soren in the Jha murder case. A petition challenging the Delhi High Court verdict is pending in the Supreme Court.
“After a long time, justice has been done to Shibu Soren. Soren was involved in the Jharkhand movement and was implicated in false cases. He is the only popular leader of Jharkhand who fought for a separate state,” Supriyo Bhattacharya, a JMM central committee member