Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Setback for Mokama RJD candidate as court frames charges in two separate cases

A special court in Patna has dealt a rude jolt to the electoral hopes of Anant Singh, a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate, for the upcoming three-phase Bihar assembly polls.

The court has directed that charges be framed against Singh, who is also a former lawmaker of the ruling Janata Dal (United), JD (U), in connection with the recovery of an Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK-47) assault rifle, 26 live cartridges and two hand grenades from his native village at Nadwan in rural Patna on August 16, 2019.

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The case has been closely followed in political and legal circles due to the involvement of Singh, who had levelled allegations against the Patna Police authorities and a section of the Nitish Kumar-led government.

He had alleged that JD (U) Member of Parliament (MP), Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, state minister Neeraj Kumar and the then additional superintendent of police (ASP), Barh, Lipi Singh, had conspired against him.

Singh, a don-turned-politician and the sitting independent member of the Bihar legislative assembly (MLA) from Mokama, had filed his nomination papers as a RJD candidate for a re-election on a RJD ticket while being lodged in Patna’s Beur Central Jail.

Earlier, the Patna high court (HC) had rejected his bail application.

The trial of the case against Singh will begin on October 21.

He has been booked under the Arms Act, 1959, Explosives Substances Act, 1908 and sections 414 (assisting in concealment of stolen property) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the special MP-MLA court.

The judge of the MP-MLA court also framed charges against Singh in a five-year-old Arms Act case, which was filed at Sachivalaya police station in Patna.

Vikas Vaibhav, the then special superintendent of police (SSP), Patna, had raided the official residence of Singh, who was a sitting JD (U) legislator, on June 28, 2015 and recovered six magazines of an Insas rifle and a bullet-proof jacket.

The court has fixed November 4 as the next date of hearing for recording the statement of the person, who had provided the classified information to the police against Singh.

Singh, who was present in the court on Friday when the charges were framed against him, pleaded innocence.

The state government has appointed Shyameshwar Dayal as the special public prosecutor in the case against Singh.

Earlier, Dayal had represented the state government against former MPs such as Mohammad Shahbuddin, Anand Mohan Singh and RJD lawmaker from Nawada Rajballah Yadav, who was accused of raping a minor.

Dayal had ensured the conviction of Shahbuddin, Singh and Yadav.

Altogether, 37 cases, including 10 related to murder, are pending against Singh in various police stations in Patna district since 1976.

In 2004, during the fag-end of the RJD regime, eight members of Singh’s gang and a jawan, who belonged to Bihar Police’s Special Task Force (STF), were killed during an encounter. It was a joint operation conducted by STF and Patna Police personnel, which was carried out at the Ladma village under the jurisdiction of Barh police station .

The Supreme Court (SC) recently asked the Chief Justices of HCs to head special benches and immediately hear 4, 442 pending criminal cases against sitting and former legislators.

Bihar goes to polls on October 28, November 3 and 7.

The election results will be announced on November 10.

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