Three Ananda Margas and an advocate were today sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing of former Railway Minister L N Mishra nearly 40 years ago with a Delhi Court holding that the terror act was aimed at pressurising the Indira Gandhi government to release the group's jailed chief.
District Judge Vinod Goel, who held three Ananda Margas-- Santoshanand, Sudevanand and Gopalji-- and advocate Ranjan Dwivedi guilty of murdering Mishra and two others, also directed the Bihar Government to pay Rs five lakh each to the legal heirs of Mishra and two other victims who had died in a blast at Bihar's Samastipur Railway station on January 2, 1975, just few months before the proclamation of Emergency.
It also asked the state government to pay a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakh each to the family members of seven persons who had sustained grievous injuries and Rs 50,000 each to the kin of 20 others who had received simple injuries in the incident.
"I am awarding life imprisonment to Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshanand, Sudevanand and Gopalji," the judge said and also imposed a fine of varied amount of Rs 25,000 and Rs 20,000 on them.
The court, in its 1,123-page judgement, said when Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar alias Anand Murti, who was accused in a murder case and later acquitted, could not secure his enlargement on bail, his followers had resorted to "revolutionary methods" by taking law into their own hands with arms and ammunitions.
"They (followers) were guided by the passion and also became blindfolded to achieve the misunderstood targets. They entertained an idea that by causing a big jolt in the establishment by the acts of terror, the Government would buckle under their pressure to release their Guru/cult head.
"Under such indoctrination, they chose the important personalities in the establishment as the obstacles to be removed. With these false ideas, the convicts have resorted to the misadventure," the judge said.
While Mishra was second in the list of enemies of Ananda Margas, the then Bihar Chief Minister Abdul Gaffoor was the next target and an approver in the murder case lodged against Anand Murti topped the sequence of those to be eliminated.
The court held that the conspiracy to eliminate the targets was hatched in a meeting in 1973 at a village in Bihar's Bhagalpur district, attended by six Ananda Margas.