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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shibu Soren gets life imprisonment

A Special CBI court today sentenced former Union Minister Shibu Soren to life imprisonment in the Shashinath Jha murder case.

Special CBI judge B R Kedia also asked the JMM chief to cough up Rs five lakh as compensation for Jha's family. Shashinath Jha was murdered in 1994 by Nandkishore Mehta on Shibu's instructions. The court also handed down life imprisonment to four other convicts, including Mehta, in the case. The court had held Soren guilty of Jha's murder on November 28.

The four other convicts were also asked to pay Rs 25,000 each as fine to the court. Soren is to pay Rs two lakh each as compensation to Jha's daughters, Preeti and Babita, besides Rs one lakh to his mother Priyambada Devi. Describing the sentence as unfair, Shibu's son Hemand Soren told sources that they would appeal against the sentence when they read the entire judgement.
He also added that Shibu would not resign from the Lok Sabha.

Defending Shibu, noted criminal lawyer R K Anand had pleaded before the court to take a lenient view while handing down the quantum of the sentence. His argument centered around Shibu's political career. Soren is ''good enough to earn probation'', he said.

Soren had to resign from the Union Cabinet after the CBI court held him guilty of conspiring to murder Jha. Shibu played a central role in the design blurring the distinction between a principal agent and a conspirator, CBI counsel A K Singh argued citing the judgments in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's murder and the Parliament attack cases.

The conspirators were given the same sentence as the actual perpetrators in both cases, according to the CBI.

The CBI alleged that Soren deprived Jha of customary last rites.
Jha's corpse had been thrown to dogs.

One of the convicts, Nandkishore Mehta, earned himself a JMM ticket to contest the assembly elections by killing Jha on Soren's instructions.

One of the reasons behind the murder, the CBI said, was that Soren and Jha fell out over sharing the kick-offs offered by the Congress to bail out the P V Narasimha Rao-led government during the no-trust vote in the Lok Sabha.

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