The Patna High Court on Friday acquitted former RJD Madhepura MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav in the 1998 murder of Purnea CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar.
In February 2008,a CBI court had sentenced Pappu Yadav,who is lodged in Beur jail,and two others to life in the murder case.
A division Bench of Justices V N Sinha and A K Lal,in a 273-page verdict,acquitted Pappu Yadav,politician Rajan Tiwary and Anil Kumar Yadav,giving them benefit of doubt for lack of adequate corroborative evidences.
The judgment said: In view of my findings and observations,the three appellants deserve to be granted benefit of doubt. The impugned judgment and the order of sentence dated 14.02.2008 is set aside. Appellant Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav is directed to be released forthwith,if not required in any other case. Appellants Anil Kumar Yadav and Rajan Tiwary are discharged from their bail bonds.
The CBI is likely to challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court. CBI counsel Bipin Kumar Sinha said,Though it will not be fair to say anything on the courts verdict,we had strong corroborative evidences,confessional statement of Rajan Tiwari and three eyewitnesses. We still have a good case to challenge the verdict in the apex court.
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Ajit Sarkar represented Purnea Assembly segment for a long time and was a renowned farmer leader. Though his wife Madhavi Sarkar represented the constituency for little over one year after his death,the BJP wrested the seat from CPM in 2000 and continues to hold it.
Madhavi Sarkar told The Indian Express: We see a deeper conspiracy behind the acquittal of Pappu Yadav and others. The CPM will not sit idle over the poor verdict. We will ensure the CBI challenges the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Ajit Sarkar was shot dead in Purnea district of Bihar on June 14,1998 after a prolonged turf war with his political opponents.