These are the people who decide our fate!
This is the headline of many national news papers:
Yet another MP is convicted of murder
25 Jun 2008, , Dipak Mishra & Rajiv Kumar,TNN
BEGUSARAI/PATNA: A trial court on Tuesday convicted controversial Lok Janshakti Party MP, Surajbhan Singh, for killing a farmer over a land dispute 16 years ago.
He is the third MP from the state to be convicted. Apart from the three, a former MP and a former state minister — making it a total of five politicians — have been convicted by different Bihar courts in recent years. Shibu Soren, an MP from neighbouring Jharkhand was convicted of murder, but later acquitted.
Fast-track court judge Ravi Prakash Dhar Dubey found Surajbhan, MP from Balia, and two others — Jai Ram Singh and Radhe Singh — guilty of murdering Rami Singh of Madhurapur village in Begusarai in January 1992.
Special public prosecutor Shyameshwar Dayal said the Begusarai court will hear the prosecution and defence on Wednesday before deciding on the quantum of punishment.
Trials are on in at least five other criminal cases against Surajbhan. There was an uneasy calm inside the courtroom with the MP, in white shirt and trousers with a tilak on his forehead, standing quietly in the dock when the verdict was delivered.
Nitish govt played role in speedy trial
It was a long, eventful trial and the Patna high court had to intervene to complete it within a timeframe.
But the fast-track court’s bid to expedite things received a setback when prosecution counsel Ram Naresh Sharma was murdered in November last year. Subsequently, Dayal, a Patna HC lawyer who was appointed by the state government as special public prosecutor to oversee all other cases related to the MP, took charge of this case as well.
The sitting MPs who have been convicted are: Pappu Yadav (Purnea), Mohammed Shahabuddin (Siwan), both from RJD; and Anand Mohan Singh, a former MP from Sheohar. Anand Mohan was sentenced to death for the lynching of then Gopalganj DM, G Krishnaiah. Shahabuddin has been convicted in at least three cases.
He was given life term for kidnapping CPI-ML worker Munna Choudhary with the intent of murder. Pappu got life term for the murder of CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar in 1998. Former Bihar minister in Rabri cabinet, Aditya Singh, and his son are in jail for killing two persons in Nawada.
If the law is catching up with the state’s dons-turned-politicians, it has more to do with the Nitish Kumar government’s move to ensure speedy trial in criminal cases. After these cases, including those against politicians, were transferred to fast-track courts some two years ago, 6,000-odd criminals have been convicted by various courts.
Starting off as a contract killer for UP mafia don Shriprakash Shukla (killed in an encounter by police) in the early 1990s, Surajbhan has of late been controlling most railway contracts and other PSUs in Begusarai and surrounding districts. Feared as a crack shooter who kills in cold-blood, Surajbhan in the mid-1990s led upper caste criminals in retaliatory violence against backward caste goons. In 2000, he was elected MLA from Mokama and his political clout helped him bag more contracts.
Are our leaders law abiding citizens? Nearly a quarter (23.2%) of the MPs has reported criminal cases against them. One out of two among them (over 50%) have cases that could attract penalties of imprisonment of five or more years. The states of Bihar, U.P., Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh that account for over 50% of the MPs with the high penalty criminal cases.
Though with Supreme Court order, it has become mandatory for candidates to declare the cases pending against them, it has hardly discouraged the political parties from nominating known criminals as their candidates. According to ‘Election Watch¶ in Bihar assembly election (2004-2005), each major political party has fielded 30% to 40% candidates with criminal background. The affidavits submitted by candidates just make some news headlines in English media. The information hardly reaches the voters. Ignorance of voters, caste and communal equations, large scale intimidation of voters and absence of middle and upper classes from voting make this declaration virtually ineffective. The problem becomes worse when all the major candidate in a constituency have criminal background. In absence of negative voting, one of them is definitely going to be elected.
Several organizations have repeatedly demanded that any person charged with any offence punishable with imprisonment for a maximum term of five years or more, should be disqualified for being chosen as or for being a member of Parliament or Legislature of a State till he/she is cleared of charges by the court. The same views have been endorsed by National Law commission, National Commission for Review of Constitution, and Election Commission of India. But when it comes to politicians to decide about it ( Read Standing Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms), the outcome Is zero. They refused this notion on the ground that the candidates may be falsely implicated in criminal cases by the ruling party.
This is atrocious! They are protecting each other by posing a threat from each other. When it comes to sharing the spoils (of the nation), the present day political class is no better than a pack of wolves!
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