A court has held JMM chief and former chief minister Shibu Soren,his son Durga and former deputy CM Stephen Marandi,guilty in a case of poll violence,but freed them after a reprimand.
Godda Judicial Magistrate Garima Mishra held them guilty to the charges of breach of peace and demeaning the prestige of a government section under the bailable Section 504 of the IPC. Soren,Durga and Marandi were in the packed court room when the Magistrate declared them guilty on Wednesday .
However,responding to the submission by their lawyer that they be acquitted as Soren was “old” and Durga and Marandi had committed an offence for the first time,the Magistrate preferred to let them off with a reprimand.
The case dates back to the 2003 Poraoiyahat Assembly bypoll. Though the Election Code of Conduct and Section 144 of the CrPC was in force,Soren,Durga and Marandi allegedly broke the barricade put up by the police in between Hansdiha and Poraiyahat road. When BDO Shanker Prasad Singh tried to stop them,he was roughed up and allegedly abused.
In response,Singh lodged an FIR against the three. The court took cognisance of it on October 13,2003 under Section 504 of the IPC.
However,Soren told newsmen that he would move the district sessions court challenging the verdict. “I will pray for acquittal as the case was politically motivated,” the JMM chief said.