The Patna High Court, on Friday, set aside the criminal proceedings initiated against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in a 28-year-old murder case.
Justice A. Amanullah opined that the prosecution was “mala fide, untenable and solely intended to harass” Nitish and therefore, quashed the proceedings. The CM was represented by senior counsel Surendra Singh, along with Advocate Gopal Singh.
In an FIR lodged on November 16, 1991, Nitish, the then Samata Party MP from Barh, was named as an accused, along with others, for the killing of one Sitaram Singh during the Lok Sabha polls that year. The ACJM, Barh had initiated criminal proceedings in the case in 2009. This was challenged by the CM before the Patna High Court the same year. The high court now took note of the fact that Nitish had an alibi for the crime, as the then District Magistrate, Nalanda and the then Superintendent of Police, Nalanda had both categorically claimed that he was with them at the relevant time and in the District of Nalanda for the entire period of polling on the day of the incident.
The court further noted that the incident dates back to November, 1991 and that even though the complainant had given his statement to the police within a year of the incident, he did not take any step in the case before any court or authority. It pointed out that he filed this petition 16 years later, after the final report filed by the police had already been accepted by the lower court and proceedings had been quashed. Besides, the court opined that a separate protest cum complaint was impermissible and observed, “Only upon the Court accepting the Final Report and closing the police case by not taking cognizance, can a separate complaint on the same facts based on a Protest-cum- Complaint Petition be legally valid and maintainable. In the present case, once cognizance was taken and process also issued against three named accused, the said case being still alive, a separate complaint was impermissible.”