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SC upholds HC verdict acquitting JMM supremo Soren in murder case


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Supreme Court today upheld the Delhi High Court verdict acquitting JMM supremo and former Union minister Shibu Soren in connection with the murder of his private secretary Shashi Nath Jha in 1994, saying there was no merit in the appeal.
A bench of justices A K Goel and R F Nariman refused to interfere with the August 22, 2007, verdict of the high court which had set aside the trial court judgement holding Soren guilty in the case.
Advocate Sanjeev Kumar, appearing for Soren, argued before the bench that there was no evidence to show that the body exhumed from a farmhouse on the outskirts of Ranchi was that of Jha or Soren had any motive to have the victim eliminated.
Kumar submitted that Soren was falsely implicated in the case and the four DNA reports did not match with the DNA of Jha.
He said that it cannot be said that the skeleton exhumed was of the victim.
The bench, while dismissing the appeal of the Central Bureau of Investgation and Priyamvada Devi, mother of Jha, said that there was no merit in the appeal and upheld the verdict of the high court.
The CBI and mother of the victim had challenged the high court verdict, which had held that the probe agency had miserably failed in getting evidence against the veteran tribal leader.
The high court had also acquitted four of Soren's aides-- Nand Kishore Mehta, Shailendra Bhattacharya, Pashupati Nath Mehta and Ajay Kumar Mehta -- of all the charges on the same grounds.
It had rejected the CBI's contention that Jha was abducted and killed by the former Union coal minister and his associates as he had threatened to expose Soren's alleged complicity in the JMM bribery case.
A Delhi trial court had on November 28, 2006 convicted Soren and the four others for abduction and murder of Jha and awarded life term to him.
Jha had gone missing from Dhaula Kuan area of south Delhi on May 22, 1994. He was last seen in Ranchi allegedly in the company of Soren's loyalists the next day.
Soren, 74, had to quit as Union coal minister from the then UPA government following his conviction by the trial court and was shifted from the Tihar jail here to Dumka prison in Jharkhand.
Soren, currently Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's Lok Sabha member from Dumka constituency, is a three-time chief minister of Jharkhand.

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First Published: Apr 26 2018 | 9:15 PM IST

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