SC asks ex-MP Anand Mohan to deposit passport, report to police station fortnightly

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked former Lok Sabha MP Anand Mohan, a murder convict who was granted remission by the Bihar government last year, to surrender his passport and record his presence at the local police station every fortnight.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and K V Viswanathan gave the Centre one last opportunity to file its affidavit on the remission granted to Mohan, who was serving life term in the 1994 murder case of then Gopalganj district magistrate G Krishnaiah.

"Respondent (Anand Mohan) should deposit his passport immediately in the local police station and record his presence at the police station every fortnight," the bench ordered.

During the brief hearing, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Uma Krishnaiah, the wife of the slain officer, told the bench that this matter has been dragging on for a while as the Centre has not filed its reply to the petition challenging the remission.

He said that the Centre was issued notice in May last year and the government is still seeking time to file an affidavit.

Referring to the affidavit of Bihar government, Luthra said that it is a bizarre case as the convict was awarded life sentence but was released prematurely and now out playing a political role.

The bench said that it is listing the matter for final hearing on February 27 and would give 60 minutes maximum to both the sides to complete the argument.

Counsel for Mohan urged the bench to reconsider the direction for deposit of passport and marking of presence at the local police station.

The bench said it has passed the order in view of respondent's (Mohan) involvement in other cases.

"Let him comply with the order. We will hear the matter on February 27," the bench said, while asking the counsel for the Centre to file its affidavit within a week.

On August 11 last year, the top court questioned the Bihar government as to how many of the convicts, granted remission in April last year along with Mohan, were held guilty of murdering public servants on duty.

The Bihar government informed the top court that a total of 97 convicts, including Mohan, were prematurely released at the same time.

On May 19, 2023, the top court directed the Bihar government to produce complete original records with regard to the remission granted to Mohan, a gangster-turned-politician.

Luthra had earlier argued the state government changed the policy retrospectively and released Mohan.

Mohan was released from Saharsa jail on April 24 last year, after serving more than 14 years following an amendment to the Bihar prison rules by the state government.

The petitioner has contended the life imprisonment awarded to Mohan 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 has said in her petition.

Mohan was awarded death penalty on October 5, 2007 by the trial court which was commuted to rigorous life imprisonment by the Patna High Court on December 10, 2008 and confirmed by the Supreme Court on July 10, 2012.

The remission of Mohan's sentence followed an April 10, 2023, amendment to the Bihar Prison Manual by the Nitish Kumar government whereby the restriction on early release of those involved in the 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.

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, and was alleged to have instigated the mob to kill Krishnaiah. PTI MNL MNL KVK KVK