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Shibu Soren acquitted in 1975 massacre case
March 06, 2008 20:24 IST
Nearly one-and-a-half years after he was absolved by a Delhi court in the murder case of his private secrertary, a Jharkhand court on Thursday acquitted Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supremo Sibu Soren in a 33-year-old massacre case, citing lack of evidence.
Soren, still in legal tangles in another double murder case, was given the benefit of doubt along with 13 others by Jamtara Additional District and Sessions Judge Arun Kumar, for want of evidence.
The court, however, held seven persons guilty in the case relating to the massacre of 11 persons at Chirrudih village under Narayanpur police station on January 23, 1975. The quantum of their punishment would be announced later.
''Justice has triumphed,'' was the immediate reaction of the tribal leader, who had appeared in person in the court, as he was forced to quit the Union cabinet in 2004 following the issuance of a non-bailable warrant of arrest against him.
The Chirrudih case came to the limelight in July 2004, when the court issued a non-bailable warrant against Soren at a time when he was the Union Coal Minister. He was among the 69 accused against whom the chargesheet was filed.
Soren had gone into hiding following the warrant and appealed to the Jharkhand high court to set aside the NBW. The high court, however, asked him to surrender before a local court and he complied with it on August 2, 2004 and spent 38 days in jail at Jamtara. He later secured a bail from the High Court.
He got a breather on November 28, 2006 when a Delhi court acquitted him in the murder case of his private secretary Sashinath Jha.
Soren, a former chief minister of Jharkhand, is facing trial in the Kurko double murder case of 1974, which took place over the killing of a goat in 1974. The case is being tried by the first additional district and sessions court, Giridih, and Soren is one of the 11 accused in the case, his counsel Prakash Sahay said.
He has two other cases, relating to the violation of the model code of conduct, registered against him at Jamshedpur and Dumka.