FORMER state minister Ram Karan Arya (73) was on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment in a 1994 murder case. He was minister for sports and youth welfare in the previous Akhilesh Yadav government. “District and Sessions Judge Anil Kumar Pundir sentenced Ram Karan Arya to life imprisonment in the murder case. Arya, who was out on bail, has been taken into judicial custody. The court acquitted eight other accused,” said special counsel for prosecution, Sanjay Upadhyay.
Upadhyay told The Indian Express that the case dates back to November 23, 1994, when then Congress sitting MLA at Basti’s Sadar constituency Jagdambika Pal was holding a ‘Kisan rally’ at Walterganj town. Pal’s nephew and his cousin Jaibaksh were travelling to the rally in a jeep.
The vehicle collided head-on with another jeep in which Arya, then the SP MLA from Basti South seat, was travelling with his supporters. The incident took place at Katra locality in City Kotwali police station area, he added.
“A heated argument took place between the two groups. Arya snatched a rifle from one of his supporters and fired at Shambhu. A bullet hit Shambhu in the neck and he died on the spot,” Upadhyay said.
Jaibaksh got a case registered against 10 persons including Arya. The police investigated and filed a chargesheet against all of them. While one of the accused died during trial, eight others have been acquitted, Upadhyay added.
Defence lawyer Dhruv Chand Pandey said he would file an appeal against the judgment after going through it. Arya, a four-time MLA, had unsuccessfully contested the recent Assembly elections from reserved seat Mahadewa in Basti on a Samajwadi Party ticket.