The Patna High Court Friday quashed criminal proceedings initiated against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar by a lower court in a three-decades-old murder case, holding that "the prosecution is mala fide, untenable and solely intended to harass the petitioner".
The proceedings were initiated in 2009, 18 years after an FIR was lodged at the Pandarak police station in connection with the killing of one Sita Ram Singh, who died in violence at a polling booth in the Barh Lok Sabha constituency where bypoll was underway and Kumar was the candidate of the Janata Dal.
An FIR was lodged by Singh's brother Raja Ram Singh on November 16, 1991, wherein he had named Kumar alongside don-turned-politicians Dilip Singh and Dularchand Yadav and their associates who were believed to be close to the Janata Dal.
Upon learning that his name had figured in the FIR, Kumar filed an application before the investigating officer that at the time of the incident, he was with the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of Nalanda district and not present when the attack took place.
Police submitted its final report two years later wherein "no evidence" was found with regard to the involvement of Kumar and 15 years afterwards, the ACJM on August 05, 2008 accepted the final report and issued NBWs against those accused who were prima facie found to be involved in the incident.
One Ashok Singh, who was injured in the firing but not the informant in the case, filed a "protest-cum-complaint petition" on January 20, 2009 before the ACJM court which "again took cognizance" against Kumar vide order dated July 20, 2009.
Appearing on behalf of the chief minister, senior Supreme Court lawyer Surendra Singh had argued that Kumar had occupied the post in "late 2005, and thus, due to political rivalry, such petition was filed to damage him personally and politically".
In his more than 100 pages long order, Justice Amanullah appear to concur with the petitioners counsel and remarked "the court has no hesitation to record a finding that the protest-cum-complaint petition itself was frivolous, mala fide, frivolous, mischievous, without any basis and in fact totally false and fabricated".
"The court inescapably finds that the prosecution is mala fide, untenable and solely intended to harass the petitioner," Justice Amanullah added as a parting note.
Hailing the judgement, JD(U) national general secretary and Chief Spokesman K C Tyagi issued a statement, "The decision proves that Nitish Kumar represents the moral ethos of Indian politics."
It comes as a relief to the chief minister with the opposition parties, especially the Rashtriya Janata Dal, targeting him over his name figuring in the murder case.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)