SC seeks replies of Bihar, Centre on early release of ex-MP Anand Mohan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and the Bihar government on a plea challenging the state government’s decision to prematurely release former MP Anand Mohan, who was serving life term in the 1994 murder case of then Gopalganj District Magistrate G Krishnaiah.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and JK Maheshwari issued notices to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Bihar government and Mohan on the plea.

At the outset, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Uma Krishnaiah, the wife of the slain officer, said it is an unfortunate matter.

The bench said it is issuing notice on the plea.

On May 1, the top court had agreed to hear the plea and listed for May 8.

Mohan was released from the Saharsa jail on April 27 following an amendment in Bihar’s prison rules.

The petitioner has contended that life imprisonment awarded to the gangster-turned-politician meant incarceration for his entire natural course of life and it cannot be mechanically interpreted to last just 14 years.

“Life imprisonment, when awarded as a substitute for death penalty, has to be carried out strictly as directed by the court and would be beyond application of remission,” she said in her petition before the Supreme Court.

Mohan’s name figured in a list of more than 20 prisoners who were ordered to be set free by a notification issued by the state’s law department earlier this week as they had spent more than 14 years behind the bars.

The remission of his sentence followed an April 10 amendment to the Bihar Prison Manual by the Nitish Kumar government whereby the restriction on early release of those involved in killing of a public servant on duty was done away with.

This, the critics of the state government’s decision claim, was done to facilitate the release of Mohan, a Rajput strongman, who could add heft to the grand alliance led by Nitish Kumar in its fight against the BJP. Several others, including politicians, benefited from the amendment to the state prison rules.

Krishnaiah, who hailed from Telangana, was beaten to death by a mob in 1994 when his vehicle tried to overtake the funeral procession of gangster Chhotan Shukla in Muzaffarpur district.

Mohan, then an MLA, was leading the procession.