New Delhi | Three Ananda Margis, serving life term along with one other for killing former Railway Minister L N Mishra 40 years ago, were today granted bail by the Delhi High Court. A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal granted relief to convicts Gopalji, Sudevanand Avdhoot, Santoshanand Avdhoot, who challenged their conviction and sentence, while directing them to furnish a bail bond of Rs 50,000 each with two sureties of the like amount.
Yesterday, the same bench had enlarged another convict, 66-year-old Ranjan Dwivedi. During the day, the court granted bail to Sudevanand and Santoshanand. Later towards the end of the day Gopalji also approached seeking bail on the ground of parity with the other three convicts in the case. The court allowed the bail applications of the three convicts on the ground of parity with Dwivedi, who was an advocate.
The bench, meanwhile, has restrained the three Ananda Margis from leaving the country without prior intimation/ permission of the court. While enlarging Dwivedi on bail yesterday, the court had taken note of submissions of senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the convict, that his client was not named by the witnesses, especially the two approvers, as those who were part of the meeting where the conspiracy was hatched.
Dwivedi was not mentioned by the witnesses that he was part of those buying the ammunition…, the court had noted, adding that the trial in the case took over 39 years and documents are so voluminous that it cannot hear the appeal at the earliest but it was making an endeavour to do so.
It had also restrained Dwivedi from moving out of the country and had posted the bail pleas of the two convicts for hearing today. The trial court, on December 18 last year, had awarded life-term to three Ananda Margis- Santoshanand,75, Sudevanand, 79, and Gopalji, 73, – and Dwivedi for killing Mishra and two others in a blast at Bihar’s Samastipur railway station on January 2, 1975, a few months before the proclamation of Emergency.
All the four accused were held guilty of offences under sections 302 (murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon or means), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.