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Longest-ever murder trial ends: Four convicted in L N Mishra case

District Judge Vinod Goel convicted the four persons, Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshananda Avadhuta, Sudevananda Avadhuta and Gopalji for various offences punishable under the IPC, including sections 302 (murder), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapon or means) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt). The court also held them guilty for offences punishable under the Explosive Substances Act. Those convicted are associated with the spiritual group of Ananda Marg.

“Accused Ranjan Dwivedi, Santoshananda Avadhuta, Sudevananda Avadhuta and Gopalji are convicted for offences under sections 120-B, 302, 326, 324, 34 (common intention) of the IPC,” the judge said. The court has fixed December 15 for hearing the arguments on quantum of sentence in
the case.

They will either get life term or death penalty. All of them were out on bail in this case. “All these accused be taken in custody,” the court said.

Lawyers for the four convicts, who were present in the court and appeared devastated, said they will appeal against the court order. The case relates to the bomb blast at a function attended by Mishra at Samastipur Railway Station on 2 January, 1975. He succumbed to injuries the next day. Besides Mishra, two persons had died in the bomb blast while seven others were injured.

Over 200 witnesses, including 161 prosecution witnesses and more than 40 defence witnesses, were examined in the case. Advocate Ranjan Dwivedi, who was 24-year-old at that time and the youngest among the four, was named as an accused in the case along with four Ananda Marga group members, one of whom has died.
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