Kumar Rajiv Nayan

Ara : An Ara Court on July 28, 2018, sentenced to life imprisonment to 14 persons and also slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on each of them in Ara Hooch Tragedy case of 2012. The court also awarded two year rigorous imprisonment to one convict besides and slapping a fine of Rs 5,000 on him.

The court had on July 24, 2018, convicted all the 15 persons in the hooch tragedy case and had fixed July 26, 2018, for the pronouncement of quantum of punishment but the court deferred the date on the request of the advocate of defence and fixed July 28, 2018, for the same. On July 26, 2018, one of the convicts Rakesh Kumar Singh had threatened the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Satyendra Kumar Singh with dire consequences in the open court.

The Bhojpur district administration had made elaborate security arrangements and cordoned off the entire court premises since July 28 morning in view of announcement of quantumof punishment in the liquor case. Cops in plain clothes were also deployed in and around the court to keep a vigil on anti-social elements.

Addition District and Session Judge I Ramesh Chandra Dwivedi awarded rigorous life imprisonment to 14 convicts :  Pappu Chaudhary, Manoj Kumar Yadav alias Pathak, Mohan Sah, Rakesh Kumar Singh alias Prakash Kumar, Sanjay Singh alias Sanjay Pratap Singh, Saroj Prasad, Sanjay Bahadur, Manoj Sudhi, Upendra Kumar, son of Sarikhan Rai, Upendra Kumar, son of Kamta Singh, Sanoj Yadav, Ashok Kumar, Rakesh alias Bhindu Chaudhary, and Mannu Singh under sections of IPC and SC/ST Act. The court also slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on each of them.

The court sentenced to two years’ rigorous imprisonment to the 15th convict Bhashkar Sinha under the Excise Act and slapped a fine of Rs. 5000 on him.

It may be mentioned here that at least 21 persons belonging to the Mahadalit community including five women, had died while over two dozen fell ill in Anaith locality under Nawada police station, Ara, on December 7, 2012, after consuming hooch. The matter had also echoed in the State Assembly and opposition parties had created uproarious scenes over the death of 21 Mahadalits.

Bhojpur SP Awakash Kumar said that the police had brought 21 bodies to Sadar Hospital, Ara, for post-mortem and so those many deaths were officially confirmed. Accoording to unconfirmed reports, 39 persons had died in the incident.

Two separate FIRs were instituted against 15 persons and police had arrested  four unnamed accused Manoj Sudhi of Mirganj, Upendra of Mathwalia, Sanjay Bahadur, and Saroj Prasad of Anaith locality and sent them to jail after the incident and also submitted chargesheet in the court against them, said the SP. Statements of 69 persons were registered in the court during the trial. A total of 51 witnesses were examined during the trial.

After pronouncement of judgment, Sanjay Singh said that he hailed the verdict but claimed he was innocent. The family members of the deceased expressed satisfaction over verdict.

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