It was a silent and semi-dark early summer morning on Thursday, April 27, 2023, when former MP Anand Mohan Singh, convicted and sentenced to life for lynching district magistrate G Krishnaiah, walked out of prison after being released.
There was no show of strength as expected by his supporters.
It had been reported that thousands of his supporters along with over 500 cars would be part of a road show after his release.
But Anand Mohan chose a low-profile release without fanfare at 4 am when people were asleep and roads were deserted.
He was lodged in the Saharsa district jail and released after 16 years.
The television, fridge and other luxury items that he had in his prison cell -- proof of his comfortable life in jail -- were seized by the prison authorities.
The pets he had in his cell were also freed.
Soon after his release, Anand Mohan headed to his native village Panchchgachia in Saharsa district in the flood-prone and backward Kosi region.
Anand Mohan was released after Nitish Kumar's Bihar government amended prison rules that triggered controversy.
He was one of 26 prisoners who secured relief from the amendment in the prison manual.
Early this month, the state home department notified the change in rule 481 (1-a) of the Bihar Prison Manual, 2012.
The notification made a significant change in the rules for the release from jail by deleting the phrase 'or murder of a Government servant on duty', which benefited Anand Mohan Singh.
A Rashtriya Janata Dal leader close to Anand Mohan told this reporter that a grand welcome had been planned after his release on Thursday afternoon, but it was put on hold given the growing controversy over his release.
"The plan of a grand welcome was cancelled late night and the official process was completed in record time for his release before the break of dawn. A PIL has been filed in the Patna high court against his release and several people have raised their voices against his release," another leader closely associated with Anand Mohan told this correspondent.
Uma Krishnaiah, the slain IAS officer G Krishnaiah's wife, said she will challenge the release of her husband's killer in the Supreme Court.
"We will fight against the release of a criminal who killed an IAS officer and was convicted by the apex court," she said.
Anand Mohan, who was out on parole for 15 days -- the third time in six months -- surrendered to the Saharsa jail on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, evening and was formally released early the next morning.
In 2007, the Patna high court had sentenced Anand Mohan to death. The court pronounced the verdict 13 years after a mob led by the husband-wife duo of Anand Mohan and Lovely Anand shot at and then stoned to death Krishnaiah, the Gopalganj district magistrate, on a national highway near Muzaffarpur.
Later, the court converted the death sentence to a life term.
Krishnaiah, a 1985 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, who belonged to a poor Dalit family in Andhra Pradesh, was dragged out of his official vehicle and killed by Anand Mohan's henchmen in Vaishali district when he was on the way to Patna to attend a meeting.
According to the police investigation report, after being attacked and beaten to near death, Krishnaiah was also shot.
The police officials reportedly said Krishnaiah's vehicle was intercepted by a mob led by Anand Mohan.
The mob was protesting the killing of Kaushalendra Shukla, a leader of Anand Mohan's Bihar People's Party.
Anand Mohan faced several criminal cases, including those related to murder, attempt to murder, extortion and abduction, in various courts.
He formed the Krantikari Samajwadi Sena in 1980, but lost the Lok Sabha election that year. He became a Janata Dal legislator in 1990.
He formed the Bihar People's Party in 1993, but failed to win any of the three assembly seats he contested in 1995.
He entered the Lok Sabha in 1996 from Sheohar.
After Anand Mohan was convicted in Krishnaiah's murder, the Bihar People's Party slowly lost ground.
He then joined hands with the Samata Party led by George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar and worked with them when they formed the Janata Dal-United.
From the late 1990s till the early 2000s, he joined all the political parties in Bihar one after another except the Left.
Lovely Anand -- Anand Mohan's wife and former MP -- is a Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and his son Chetan Anand is an RJD MLA; both are considered close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav.
With the Lok Sabha election hardly a year away, the ruling Mahagathbandhan consisting of Kumar's Janata Dal-United, the RJD, the Congress, the Hindustani Awam Morcha, hopes to make a dent in upper caste votes, considered a strong and loyal social support base of the Bharatiya Janata Dal in Bihar.
The ruling Mahagathbandhan may give a ticket in the 2024 Lok Sabha election to Anand Mohan and/or Lovely Anand from seats having enough Rajput voters to challenge the BJP.
Anand Mohan reportedly enjoys strong support among Rajputs in the Kosi region, from where he hails, and the neighbouring Seemanchal and Mithilanchal regions as well.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com