Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren was on Tuesday acquitted by a local court in a 36-year-old murder case for lack of evidence, the last of the three cases of murder against him.
Soren, who appeared before the court of Additional District Judge (9th-fast track), Mohammad Qasim, in person looked relieved after the verdict.
The court had reserved its judgement on June three. The case related to an FIR filed on April 15, 1974 by a person named Bahadur Singh, who had accused Soren of leading a group that killed two persons, Khirodar Singh and Chundi Singh, following the slaughter of a goat at Kudko village under Pirtand police station in Giridih district.
The chargesheet was filed in 1978. Eight of the accused were acquitted in 1986. He was earlier acquitted in the 1975 Chirrudih massacre case in which 19 persons were killed in Chirudih village of Jamtara district on January 23, 1975 by a mob. Soren was accused of inciting the mob to kill 'dikus' or outsiders following a movement launched by the JMM chief to drive them away.
In 2004, Soren, the then union coal minister, had gone into hiding for over a week after a Jamtara court issued a non-bailable warrant against him for the Chirrudih massacre case.
Soren later sent in his resignation through a party delegation to the Prime Minister's office. He was earlier acquitted in the Shashinath Jha murder case on August 22, 2007 by the Delhi High Court, but not before spending a nine month stint in Tihar jail and then in the Dumka Central jail.
Jha was his secretary, who was abducted from Dhaula Kuan in New Delhi in 1994. Jha had learnt about the alleged deal between the Congress and JMM chief to save the then Narasimha Rao government facing a no-confidence motion.
"Now Guruji has been acquitted in all the three murder cases," senior JMM leader Suraj Mandal said. Soren still faces a case of violation of the model code of conduct in Jamshedpur. He was earlier acquitted in another case of violating the model code of conduct in Dumka. PTI