A court in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh district awarded life sentence to former RJD MP Prabhunath Singh in the Ashoke Singh murder case.
Prabhunath and two of his brothers were convicted last week of killing the then Janata Dal MLA Ashoke Singh 22 years ago in 1995.
The additional district and sessions judge Surendra Sharma, who last week held Prabhunath guilty and sent him to Jayaprakash Narayan Central Jail in Hazaribagh, announced the verdict in the jam-packed court room through video conferencing as the trio were incarcerated behind bars. The three guilty have also been slapped with a fine of Rs 40,000 each.
The 22-year-old murder case of the Bihar legislator, when Ashok Singh was sitting on the campus of his official residence in Patna. At around 7 pm, three unidentified assailants barged into his house and hurled bombs at him leading to his instant death. Ashok was barely 28 years old when he was killed. He had defeated Prabhunath Singh in 1995 Assembly elections to make his debut as MLA from Masarakh constituency in Saran district.
Chandni Devi, wife of Ashok Singh, was happy with the judgement. “We have fought against the entire system for years. Prabhunath Singh tried to buy us off. He also put pressure on me, threatened me but money doesn’t work every time.”
Relatives of Ashok Singh blamed Prabhunath Singh and his henchmen for the murder. Initially the case was heard in Patna but the Supreme Court transferred the case to Hazaribagh, thus accepting the plea of relatives of the slain MLA who feared Prabhunath Singh could influence court proceedings.
Prabhunath, his brother Dinanath Singh and mukhiya Ritesh Singh were named accused in the case. Though the trial started in Patna, it was later shifted to Hazaribagh (then in undivided Bihar) in 1997 on the directive of the Patna High Court.
Justice Sharma held the trio guilty under Sections 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 3/5 of the Explosive Substance Act, besides Section 27 of the Arms Act.