elite All India Institute of Medical Sciences is also getting
a reputation for being a safe haven for political and other bigwigs
embroiled in controversies, or so it seems. Providing a convenient
and easy shelter for those for whom a police lock up is imminent,
or as in the case of its latest guest, to evade even temporarily
a quick march to Tihar.
worthy, none other than 62-year-old Shibu Soren, a colourful figure
in the Indian Parliament, a member of its 14th Lok Sabha representing
the Dumka constituency of Jharkhand. The gentleman is the chief
of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha political party, which is part of
the UPA coalition currently in power running the government.
his political career in the early 1970s, Soren soon rose to become
a tribal leader. In a mob attack of 1975 allegedly under his leadership
on a Muslim-dominated Chirudih village in Jamtara district to
drive away "outsiders", ten people including nine Muslims
were killed - for which he was charged with 68 others for murder.
lost his very first effort to enter Parliament in 1977. But he
succeeded in 1980 when he was elected for the first time to the
Lok Sabha. In 1986, an arrest warrant was issued against him in
the case of 1975. He was subsequently elected to the Lok Sabha
in 1989, 1991 and 1996 as well. In 2002, he was elected to the
Rajya Sabha with the help of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He won
the Dumka Lok Sabha seat in a by-election the same year and resigned
his Rajya Sabha seat.
was re-elected in 2004 and became the Union Coal Minister in the
Man Mohan Singh government (2004-2009) but was asked to resign
following the nemesis of the pending arrest warrant in his name
in the 30 year old case of killing in Chirrudih catching up at
an inopportune moment. In the face of this warrant, he initially
went underground, but later resigned on July 24, 2004 on the request
of the prime minister.
spending over a month in judicial custody, Soren managed to secure
bail - but could not be re-inducted into the Union Cabinet and
given back the coal ministry till November 27, 2004. Soren resigned
the following March to become the chief minister of Jharkhand
on the invitation of the Governor of Jharkhand, Syed Sibtey Razi.
He was in office for just nine days before he failed to obtain
a vote of confidence. He returned to the cabinet for the second
time in January this year.
man whom controversies had never failed to tail, Soren was not
to be left alone. In the meantime the Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI) had filed a charge-sheet against him and others on November
10, 1998 for allegedly abducting his private secretary Shashi
Nath Jha from Delhi and murdering him in Ranchi in 1994 - as the
latter had knowledge of the bribe payment to four Jharkhand Mukti
Morcha (JMM) MPs who had voted against the no-confidence motion
against the P V Narasimha Rao government in July 1993. The investigation
had gone to the CBI after Delhi Police made no headway in the
complaint lodged with it by Jha's family after his mysterious
disappearance in 1994.
Sustained investigation later, CBI was able to prove that Sashinath
Jha was abducted from Dhaula Kuan in New Delhi on May 22, 1994
where after he had completely vanished. It was only in 1998 that
the police finally found his body in a village near Ranchi during
CBI's investigation of the case.
additional sessions court in Delhi convicted Soren and four others
on Tuesday, November 28 for the murder of Jha, in which the sentence
is likely to be pronounced on Thursday. The four others convicted
are, Nand Kishore Mehta alias Nandu, Shailendra Bhattacharya,
Pashupati Nath Mehta alias Posho and Ajay Kumar Mehta alias Dillip.
Two other accused, Sunil Khaware and Asish Thakur, were acquitted.
Soren who was present in court, was taken in custody by the CBI
immediately after the verdict.
the second time in the tenure of the 14th Lok Sabha, Prime Minister
Man Mohan Singh is constrained to call for the resignation of
the same man, whom political compulsions had forced him to accommodate
in his cabinet not once, but twice. Thus leaving him and his UPA
government wide open to be targeted by the opposition BJP. Following
the Delhi court's verdict today finding him guilty, Shibu Soren's
resignation has been sought yet again.
after taking him in custody following the guilty verdict, CBI
handed Soren over to Delhi Police to transport him to Tihar jail.
The 3rd Battalion of Delhi Police which is in charge of prisoner
escort to and from court to jail and vice-versa have taken Soren
to the AIIMS, may be only for a medical check-up - perhaps not
wanting something untoward on their hands considering the obvious
palpitations the worthy is bound to exhibit. Apparently just a
week ago he had been admitted in the intensive care unit of Gandhi
Nagar Hospital in Ranchi after he had complained of uneasiness
due to cardiac congestion and kidney problem.
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