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Four convicted for 1975 L.N. Mishra murder
Monday December 8, 2014 9:30 PM, IANS

Four followers of Hindu sect Anand Marg were Monday held guilty by a court here for the 1975 murder of then railway minister Lalit Narayan Mishra.

District Judge Vinod Goel held the four guilty of killing Mishra 39 years ago.

Gopalji (73), Ranjan Dwivedi (66), Santoshanand Avadhuta (75) and Sudevananda Avadhuta (79) were convicted on charges of murder, criminal conspiracy and voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon.

Santoshanand Avadhuta and Sudevananda Avadhuta were also convicted under various provisions of the Explosive Substances Act.

The judge ordered that the four be taken into custody and fixed Dec 15 for arguments on the quantum of sentence.

Sudhevananda, who was present in court in the traditional attire of Anand Marg, broke down after hearing the verdict.

Mishra had gone to Samastipur Jan 2, 1975, to declare open the Samastipur-Muzaffarpur broad gauge railway line.

A bomb explosion on the dais seriously injured him. He was rushed to the railway hospital in Danapur where he died the next day.

Two more people died in the explosion while 25 others, including former Bihar chief minister and L.N. Mishra's brother Jagannath Mishra, were injured.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleged that Anand Marg followers had carried out the attack on Mishra to put pressure on the government for releasing one of the group's leaders.

However, the convicts claimed innocence in the case.

"We will challenge the order in the higher court," Dwivedi told IANS.

Santoshanand said they were made scapegoats in the case.

"There is evidence on record that higher political functionaries were behind Mishra's murder," he told IANS.

He said the investigating agency implicated him "to protect some political leaders".

The Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi in 1979. The charges were framed in 1981.

On the direction of the apex court, the lower court began hearing the final arguments in the 39-year-old case on a daily basis since September 2012.

The apex court in August 2012 dismissed the accused's plea to terminate the proceedings, ruling that this could not be done merely because the proceedings had not been concluded in the past 37 years.

The apex court directed the trial court not to entertain any plea for unwarranted adjournment.

Over 160 prosecution witnesses and around 40 defence witnesses were examined.

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